Common Ground: Hutt Public Art Festival 2017 is a significant new public arts festival, exploring our relationship with water in new ways through art. This is at a time when New Zealand faces critical issues related to climate change, including water quality, ecology and ownership.
A partnership between groundbreaking public art producers Letting Space and Hutt City Council, the Festival will take place from 25 February to 4 March 2017. It features five major commissioned public art projects by leading Wellington and Hutt artists and a diverse public programme. The Hutt supplies the entire Wellington region with its water and is beginning significant work to deal with flood management and draw city focus to the river.
The art projects focus on community participation, to encourage closer engagement with Hutt River, its streams and the giant aquifer that lies under the valley and Wellington Harbour. Inangā Love Park is a placemaking project at the bottom of Korokoro Stream, that aims to restore an Īnanga (whitebait) spawning ground; a large rope drawing on the banks of Hutt River, Drawing Water, considers flood projections; The Rising Gale is an experimental drone-shot film flying above river and harbour, screened at local water sites with soundtracks performed live by local performance groups; Wairua, wai-rua, will use walking tours, workshops and film projections to connect communities in and around Waiwhetu Stream with the stream’s whakapapa and age; and a Citizen Water Map Lab will allow local residents to test their local water and help make a glowing computerised visual map of the valley’s groundwater.
The Council established the Festival in 2015, and for 2017 have partnered with Letting Space, known for their innovative work in empowering people through temporary public art projects. The Festival will host fun activities, picnics, discussions, screenings, a pop up library, and all events are free to attend.
Common Ground is presented in partnership with Hutt City Council, with funding from Hutt City Council, Creative New Zealand and the Chartwell Foundation.
The Festival will take place from 25 February – 4 March 2017.