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Celebrating Queen’s Birthday Weekend with art


All those who attended the Whitianga Lions’ Art Expo at the Whitianga Town Hall over Queen’s Birthday Weekend, will be happy to know that their support of the event also contributed to charity.

Always eager to help a worthy cause in the community, The Whitianga Lions last year hosted their first Queen’s Birthday Weekend Art Expo to raise funds for the Whitianga MenzShed at the same time as supporting local artists in selling more of their works. The funds raised during this year’s expo - in the form of the Lions receiving a commission from each of the artworks sold during the weekend - were donated to the Mercury Bay Community Swimming Pool Trust’s project to purchase a water heating system for the community pool at Mercury Bay Area School.

Last weekend’s expo was notably larger than the first expo last year with more than 500 art pieces entered by more than 60 local artists. There were also several prizes to be won in a raffle, and wine and nibbles were served during the formal opening last Friday evening.

It was very clear when Whitianga Lions member, Ian Robbie, remarked in the lead up to the expo that “there will be something for everyone”, that he was not exaggerating.

The expo offered paintings with acrylics, oil paints and mixed media, jewellery, pottery, patchwork quilts and plenty more of all price ranges. One of the better overheard pieces of advice among the rows of artwork was, “don’t get lost”.

“I’m very surprised at how many pieces of artwork were entered into the expo this year,” says Ian. “We actually struggled to get all of it into the building. Regardless, each piece was fabulous and I’m happy the Whitianga Lions were able to provide local artists with an avenue to boost their sales, just before we come into the quiet season, as well as assist a worthy charitable cause. We definitely aim to be making the Queen’s Birthday Weekend Art Expo an annual event. Everyone who attended seemed to have really enjoyed themselves, some even noting that they thought it might have been the largest art expo to have been held on the Coromandel Peninsula.”

Among the many art lovers who were seeking out their next treasure to take home, Candice Van de Ven, a trustee of the Mercury Bay Community Swimming Pool Trust, was in awe of the event. “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect to be honest as I did not attend the previous Whitianga Lions expo last year, but I am completely blown away,” she says. “I think it was the largest art exhibition I have ever attended. I am so impressed with the variety of art as well as talent that was present. The other nice thing about the expo was the great range in prices, so it wasn’t just for people who can afford a really expensive piece of artwork. The turnout was great with many people coming to check out what was on offer.

“I would like to thank the Whitianga Lions for all the work they have put into helping us to get closer to our goal of year-round access to the community pool, the artists who exhibited their work and everyone who came by.”


Pictured are Whitianga Lions members selling raffle tickets and teddy bears (from the Teddy Bears Picnic that was cancelled earlier this year) at the Queen’s Birthday Art Expo in the Whitianga Town Hall. From the left: Derek Lines, Christine Whibley, Taylor Ng and Barry Roach.

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