New home and date for Art in the Park

2015-10-07 06:00
PHOTO: nicole john

In the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens, the new venue for Art In The Park 2016 (from left) Siphuxolo Ngqasa (marketing and communications officer for the garden) Allen Nene (chief garden curator), Lihle Dlamini (SANBI marketi

PHOTO: nicole john In the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens, the new venue for Art In The Park 2016 (from left) Siphuxolo Ngqasa (marketing and communications officer for the garden) Allen Nene (chief garden curator), Lihle Dlamini (SANBI marketi

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HEEDING the call for change from artists and the public, the 54th annual Art in the Park festival will be held at the KwaZulu-Natal Botanical Gardens in Pietermaritzburg and has been moved to May to accommodate other activities that previously ran concurrently with the event.

The announcement was made at the Botanical Gardens by Dumisani Mhlongo, Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association director, who said the time for change had come and the partnership was taken as the first step towards growing the festival and taking it in a new direction.

“This announcement is not as a result of degradation­ of the original venue, rather it is influenced by research conducted at the 53rd Art in the Park 2015 with recommendations, including a venue and diversification of activities in order to drive foot traffic and to grow the event art sales,” he said.

Mhlongo said that the new partner, South African­ National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), which runs the Botanical Gardens, offered the event greater opportunity to show growth.

Another change for next year is that the event will take place in the first week of May.

“Art in the Park 2016 will run from 4 to 8 May and has been moved forward to avoid a clash with the Royal Agricultural Show and Comrades Marathon, a clash that created pressure on the accommodation sector,” said Mhlongo.

The new venue offers greater visitor facilities, including toilets and increased safety, which were some of the major concerns raised during the research study.

“The garden has the facilities which will broaden the event offerings.

“It is not just a venue, but rather a meaningful partnership that will take Art in the Park to a new level,” he said.

Lihle Dlamini, SANBI marketing and communications director said that clinching the deal to host Art in the Park was welcomed with great excitement for what the future of the gardens holds.

“We are proud to be associated with this event and thank Msunduzi Tourism Association for trusting us with this event, and we promise to take it to the next level.

“We have a dedicated team handling it and are sure it’s going to grow in the years to come and become a flagship event at the gardens,” Dlamini said.

The Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens are the only SANBI-run gardens in the province and she was excited that the city is beginning to make use of the gardens following the international trends of hosting events.

Mhlongo said next year the festival will offer visitors a host of new activities including a “kids zone”, craft stores, possible exhibitions by various cultural organisations as well as a night show by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra­.

“Change is good. The newly designed exhibition will provide the people of Pietermaritzburg with new offerings suitable for the whole family so coming out to the event will be an outing enjoyed by all,” said Mhlongo.

Details, such as entry fee and added security, will be negotiated later

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