Bot Gardens spruced up for bigger Art in the Park

2019-03-27 06:02
PHOTO: IAN CARBUTTArtist Francoise Cheyne was awarded the top selling artist award for the fifth year running. She received the award at the launch of Art in the Park yesterday. With her is Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association events co-ordinator Zama Nxasana. Behind them, some paintings by artist Hella Cary can be seen.

PHOTO: IAN CARBUTTArtist Francoise Cheyne was awarded the top selling artist award for the fifth year running. She received the award at the launch of Art in the Park yesterday. With her is Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association events co-ordinator Zama Nxasana. Behind them, some paintings by artist Hella Cary can be seen.

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WITH Pietermaritzburg’s 57th Art in the Park around the corner, the KZN National Botanical Gardens has announced an upgrade in facilities and security for this year’s event from May 1 to May 5.

Art in the Park was launched yesterday at the Gardens with speakers from various government departments and private stakeholders addressing a small crowd gathered under the avenue of London plane trees.

Curator Sithembile Zondi said staff at the Gardens have made some “developments and refurbishment of some facilities for the benefit of the Gardens’ patrons and the art in the park event”.

These renovations and developments include the toilets, painting of the buildings and a new security company has been appointed to ensure the safety of the artists and visitors.

“We also have a cleaning service on board and the restaurant will be in operation during the Art in the Park event.

“We finally appointed the best suitable service provider to offer restaurant services for the garden. The London plane tree avenue has also been revived with different plant species so it will create a spectacular show when these plants are in flower. We are most definitely ready for Art in the Park and the vibe that it brings to the garden,” she said.

Msunduzi Pietermaritzburg Tourism Association’s Dumisani Mhlongo said the Gardens is one of the venues in the city that people are excited to be in.

He emphasised how important art was to social cohesion and understanding others.

He said the number of people attending the event was growing, although sales figures for the artists were the same. He hoped this would change at this year’s event.

Creative Arts College director Kevin Pallium said if art was taken more seriously “as a strategic tool to drive positive change and contribute to the economy through revenue generated by its consumption, South Africa could see a shift towards greater and continued development”.

The launch of 2019’s Art in the Park at the KZN National Botanical Gardens also saw artist Francoise Cheyne win the top seller award.

It is the fifth year she has won the award.

“It is all about growth, trying new things and bringing fresh art to exhibit,” said Cheyne.

“My art is not just about painting. I use various paints and tools and experiment with them.

“I also create ceramics. I think it has been a combination of my different crafts that have made me the top seller at the event for the last five years. There are over 80 artists at Art in the Park. You have to turn heads. You have to stand out or you stand nowhere,” she said.

Self-taught artist Hella Cary said she was in her 70s and this year would be her first time ever exhibiting at Art in the Park.

“I started painting in 1995, but mostly gave paintings away to family and friends. When I applied to exhibit this year and got in I was just so excited.”

Cary, who is originally from Holland but moved to Pietermaritzburg 50 years ago, said she gets her inspiration for her paintings from wildlife and nature. “I have five children and seven grandchildren. They are all proud of me,” she said.

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