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Van Gogh on the waterfront, Wearable Art at Te Papa

News from WellingtonNZ (aka Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency)
Two new exhibitions will bring international and homegrown entertainment to Wellington in August. The world’s most visited immersive digital art exhibition, Digital Nights – Van Gogh Alive, will light up Odlins Plaza from 28 August and the World of WearableArt – Up Close will make its world debut at Te Papa from 29 August. Both events are exclusive to Wellington.

These two events will kick off an exciting programme of events for the capital, with Fat Freddy’s Drop in September, Benee and Visa Wellington on a Plate making Wellington Aotearoa’s most delicious destination throughout October, and the Wellington Jazz Festival and Beervana in November.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster says Wellington retained its major events funding at pre-Covid levels in order to invest in events that would bring visitors into the city and boost the local economy.

“We know major events of many kinds make Wellington as the Arts and Culture Capital a really fun place to be. Events bring residents into the central city and attract thousands of out-of-town visitors for a weekend stay, pumping millions of dollars into local businesses – more important now than ever.”

Mayor Foster says reigniting the events season with the Digital Nights Wellington – Van Gogh Alive and World of WearableArt – Up Close exhibitions “enables locals and visitors to enjoy the WOW exhibition during the day and the Van Gogh experience in the evening. It leaves plenty of time to enjoy a meal or drink at their favourite haunt, go shopping, or pack in another tourism experience at the likes of Zealandia and Weta Workshop.

“It’s also great to see the return of popular local events such as Wellington on a Plate, Beervana, the Wellington Jazz Festival, all which also support local jobs.”

Te Papa Chief Executive | Tumu Whakarae Courtney Johnston said the WOW exhibition will showcase global creativity and Kiwi ingenuity. “This theatrical experience lets visitors get up close with some stunning garments and hear the stories from the makers whose labours of love create these extraordinary works.” Tickets are now on sale at www.worldofwearableart.com/wowupclose.

WellingtonNZ Events and Experiences General Manager Warrick Dent says major events had an estimated $93 million impact on the Wellington region in the year ending June 2019.

“It’s been a challenge putting together a world class events calendar when our international borders are closed. We’ve had to focus solely on securing New Zealand talent and international exhibitions.

“Getting Digital Nights Wellington – Van Gogh Alive is a coup for Wellington. It’s the first time the exhibition will be shown outdoors and we expect the opportunity to see one of the world’s most famous artist’s works at such an epic scale will attract people from all over New Zealand. Ticket prices have been kept at very reasonable level as we look to make the event an irresistible proposition. Tickets are on sale now from Ticketmaster.

“The WOW exhibition is also going to give people the opportunity to get close to New Zealand’s most popular event in a new, immersive way.

“While it’s a challenging market, there is a lot of goodwill out there to make things happen and events which often took 18 months or more to get over the line have been confirmed in just a couple of months.”

Hospitality NZ Wellington Branch President Matt McLaughlin says the hospitality sector was decimated during the Lockdown but there is light at the end of the tunnel. “Hats off to the WellingtonNZ team for pulling out all the stops to get these events over the line. Events are absolutely critical to our industry and it’s great to see the return of existing events as well some new ones. We’re looking forward to doing our part to show people a good time and seeing full cafes, restaurants, bars and accommodation over the next few months leading into Christmas.”

First Retail Group Managing Director Chris Wilkinson says the retail sector will welcome the return of major events. “In recent years, concerts, festivals and exhibitions have been major contributors to increases in footfall and spending in stores and across our hospitality precincts. Events are a major stimulus for the retail and hospitality sector, with concerts, expos and conferences driving significant spending growth across most categories.”

About Digital Nights Wellington – Van Gogh Alive
From 28 August till 25 October, Digital Nights Wellington – Van Gogh Alive will see thousands of the Dutch master’s works projected, using state of the art technology, onto shipping containers stacked three-high in a temporary outdoor gallery created on Odlins Plaza on the waterfront. The 45-minute, family-friendly experience will create the sensation of walking right into Van Gogh’s paintings. An evocative musical score adds to the vibrant colours and vivid details of Van Gogh’s work as the projections tower above and around you.

About World of WearableArt – Up Close
World of WearableArt – Up Close is a brand-new exhibition featuring garments from World of WearableArt, the world’s most significant wearable art competition. Running at Te Papa from Saturday 29 August to Friday 9 October, the exhibition will display garments ranging from one made from 500 abandoned music festival tents, to a wearable Axminster carpet inspired by Frida Kahlo.

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