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Experience the visual arts at the Whangamata Big Arts Day Out

Since 2016, Whangamata Arts Collective has organised and staged the Big Arts Day Out; a vibrant celebration of visual arts from local Whangamata-based artists. 2021 is no different, with the Big Arts Day Out and the corresponding Harcourts Challenge taking place from 5 – 7 February at the Whangamata Memorial Hall. 


Whangamata Arts Collective is a group of artists, artisans and craftspeople of varying disciplines focused on bringing creativity to the wider community. For the last 5 years they have orchestrated the successful Big Arts Day Out in Whangamata, an opportunity for local artists to exhibit their work for both locals and visitors to the region. 


The Big Arts Day Out runs concurrently with the Harcourts Challenge, an arts competition which is open to all artists in Whangamata and the wider Coromandel area, and the Youth Arts Award, open to all Year 9 – 13 students who attend school on the Peninsula. The Harcourts Challenge offers artists a chance to win great prizes, all sponsored by Harcourts in Whangamata. The winners of both the 2D and 3D sections walk away with $500 and the Supreme Winner also wins a trophy, as does the Youth winner. 


Inspired by Waitangi weekend, the theme for this year’s Harcourts Challenge is “Aotearoa Inspired”. The Youth Arts Awards theme is “In My Bubble”,  quite aptly referencing the events of 2020. 


For the main BADO exhibition, 18 local artists will have their own exhibition stands, showcasing their artworks for viewing and purchase including Lynne Robinson, Gretha Whyte, Kaetaeta Watson, Noel Snook, Joanna Mahoney and Heather Watt. This year’s artists are utilising innovative media, including corten steel, ceramic installation, woven pieces, stitched canvases, experimental printmaking and mixed media. The Harcourts Challenge artworks will also be for sale. 


The Big Arts Day Out is a full weekend of festivities, beginning with the Wine and Cheese Preview and Prize Giving on Friday 5 February, from 5pm – 8pm. This is a ticketed event; tickets can be purchased from the Whangamata Information Centre for $20. 


The Wine and Cheese Preview will have catered platters from the Whangamata Club restaurant,  delicious wines and live music provided by The Band with Mike Frogley and mates. At the Prize Giving, judge Stuart Shepherd will share his thoughts about his winning choices.


For the remainder of the weekend, the Big Arts Day Out exhibition is open to the public on Saturday 6 February and Sunday 7 February, from 10am to 4pm; entry by gold coin donation. The live music continues with Musos, Jim Carbery, Andy Warneford and Kevin Prout playing on Saturday, plus Dianna will be in the carpark with her Dandelions truck, selling coffee and her decadent doughnuts.


Whangamata Arts Collective member and artist, Lynne Robinson is excitedly counting down the days to the event.


“Both the weekend events and the opening Preview and Prize Giving promise to be bigger and better than ever with live music, delicious food and exceptional art. A big thank you to our sponsors, Harcourts Whangamata, New World, Creative New Zealand and Liquor King Whangamata for supporting our event and of course all the wonderful artists who make it all worthwhile!” 


Whangamata Arts Collective’s next event for 2021 will be the Easter Open Studio Trail, taking place on the 3rd and 4th of April. Keep an eye on their website, Facebook and Instagram for more details in the coming months. 


The Collective are also seeking new members to join their group this year. Annual membership is $20 and the Collective encourages active membership and participation, so you are welcome to attend meetings. Contact the Collective directly if you would like to join or need more info on


Article published 30 January 2021

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