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February 27, 2012 | by  | in Arts Theatre | [ssba]

Fringe Benefits

Wellington is a city which doesn’t just embrace the visual arts, it also cuddles them and cooks them a delicious breakfast. Over the next month and a half this feature of the Capital will become very clear to both long term residents and  the fresh faced, as the Fringe Festival pastes its visual art programme liberally onto the streets of the city. For those of you who are relatively new to the city, the International Festival of the Arts is a biennial celebration of arts and culture that draws artists, musicians, actors and dancers from a plethora of different global locations, and brings them to our humble city.

Accompanying the festival is the ever growing Fringe, a collection of lesser known and more alternative acts, mainly from within New Zealand. The Fringe this year has a wide range of free visual art exhibits and these can all be found out upon on the Fringe festival website, but the really exciting stuff will be out on the streets. Accompanying Michael Tuffrey’s amazing projections on the walls of Te Papa will be The Performance Arcade, a wacky explosion of a variety of artists within the confines of several different shipping containers. The arcade will be open every day from March the 1st to March the 4th and will be constantly evolving in content and meaning. This collection of artists and objectives will  serve as a background to the shifting sands of festival goers but it will also serve as a perfect bridge between the two main currents of the visual arts in Wellington at the present.

The city has a strong gallery presence, as outlined by Morgan, but the heart of the visual culture in Wellington is the street, the pavement and its many adornments. Civic sculpture, graffiti and screen-printing give our location a slightly grungey feel, like a kid who loves Joy Division but still religiously does their homework. The Fringe eloquently shows off this side of the city and proudly shouts out that we’re a bit shit, but god damn it we pull it off. Get amongst the Fringe and get a taste of the city, flecks of dirt and all.


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