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PARK(ing) Day in Cuba Street

Press Release – Wellington Sculpture Trust
Car Parks on Cuba Street will be that in name only on Friday – for one day they will be transformed into something quite other

Every year over an 8-hour period 20-30 car parks in Cuba Street are taken over by the Wellington Sculpture Trust for PARK(ing) Day. The event is an opportunity for Wellingtonians to enjoy a huge variety of activities and creative installations placed on spaces usually reserved for cars. Over the seven years it has been running, hundreds of individuals and organisations have taken up the challenge to provide a temporary public space one car park at a time in Wellington’s most vibrant precinct.

The idea has been embraced by Wellingtonians as people have come together to create memorable, thought-provoking, and entertaining spaces that provide a window into what public spaces can be, albeit in miniature.

Sue Elliott, Chair of the Wellington Sculpture Trust, which arranges the event with the co-operation and support of the Wellington City Council, said “those who have answered the call in the past have included: dance studios; architectural firms; artists and musicians; environmentalists; designers; secondary school and university students; and landscape architects to name a few.

“The many who have taken over a car park have contributed enormously to this event and, in so doing, contributed to the vibrancy and creativity of our city. This year they will be doing so alongside the Performance Arcade’s “What if the city was a theatre?” and will complement the vibrancy and buzz which this new event creates around the city.

“This year’s parks promise to engage, entertain and challenge with an eclectic range of distinctive spaces: issues being explored include wellness and connectivity, sustainability, the nature of living spaces, the importance of reading, our perspectives on the city around us, including perspectives of Cuba Street from an easel, a metaphorical take on some of the costs of our use of motor cars, a game themed around some of the icons of Palmerston North, and some music-based use of space, including performances by a solo violinist.”

Contributors are asked to use the spaces to:

  • generate debate around how public space is used;
  • encourage public engagement and discussion of current topical issues like climate change, sustainability, and improved modal transport options; and
  • improve the quality of our urban environment through the use of car spaces for creative and entertaining activities.

The challenge of PARK(ing) Day is to think of a novel yet engaging way to occupy a parking space for a day and engage with or entertain the public as they pass by.

“How do we use our public spaces? And how can we use them better? These are the questions for the day.

“Go to Cuba Street and see how this year’s applicants have responded to the challenge,” Sue said.

The Trust has also provided for a back-up day the following Friday 12 March should the weather on 5 March prove too challenging for participants.

Background Information

Information about the event is available on the Trust’s website http://www.sculpture.org.nz/news-and-events/events/parking-day-wellington-2018

PARK(ing) Day is an annual open-source event where citizens, artists and designers collaborate temporarily to transform metered Parking spaces into living Parks. Usually held in September in the Northern Hemisphere, in our case it is scheduled in March when the weather is more suitable. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public Park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organisations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar, but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.

The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of the urban human habitat . . . at least until the meter runs out.

This year’s event in Wellington is organised again by the Wellington Sculpture Trust with the support of the Wellington City Council and grants from the Wellington City Council’s Creative Communities Scheme and its Arts and Culture Fund.

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