New Zealand’s Canterbury Museum is about to undergo a huge renovation. Over $200 Million have been tagged for the building in order to modernise and reinvent the wide-open indoor space. Museums generally need updating once or twice per generation as we learn more and society changes. As the exhibits are being removed and the walls left spartan, the venue is being prepared for a once in a lifetime street art experience. Before the entire building is regenerated and made to look brand new, the New Zealand artists of the urban environment are being asked to go inside and decorate the space.
The 90s and 50s built sections of the museum are going to be opened to the army of artists, using spray cans and markers, brushes and bottles. The inventive and clever creations we all admire will be placed where they have never been before. By giving an open contract to the artists, they will be totally free to explore their talents in line with the unique architecture offered within. Even spaces that were previously off-limits to visitors will be unlocked and made welcoming for the temporary decorators.
The work is due to be carried out in January which will give a few months of display time before the museum is permanently changed. For a small fee, visitors can explore and wander around the urbanised venue and maybe catch the street art bug for themselves. We can only guess as to what kinds of things will end up on the walls, perhaps political and social issues will make an appearance. It would be a shame to waste the opportunity on something transient so making strong statements and creating beautiful images will surely be on the agenda.
Entitled SHIFT: Urban Art Takeover and curated by street art expert Reuben Woods, a whole list of local and international street artists have been enlisted to work on this unprecedented opportunity. With plenty of empty buildings in most cities around the world, it seems like this idea might catch on. If they can be made into places of interest, then the benefits to the community can be quantified.
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