The ArtBox evolution continues
Christchurch City Council (CCC) is all in favour of CPIT’s ArtBox project. The council’s Community, Recreation and Culture Committee has recommended that CCC contribute $30,000 to support displaced artists through this innovative project.
ArtBox’s flexible, high quality, modular system that can be configured for art exhibition and workshop spaces impressed the committee. Martin Trusttum from CPIT Creative Industries first conceived the ArtBox concept after last year’s major earthquake, which was then developed by local company F3 Design.
Trusttum has so far raised $525,000 for capital costs, including $80,000 from the Mayoral Relief Fund. The latest announcement brings the ArtBox project another step closer to a launch at the end of 2012. A lease has been signed for the former Jetset Lounge site on the corner of St Asaph and Madras Streets and the project has also attracted Beatbox, rehearsal spaces for local musicians, which together will act as anchor tenants that seed a new precinct known as ‘Boxed Quarter’. This is a site-wide project that includes ArtBox and Beatbox, both using the architectural 'box' system designed by F3 Design.
From car park to art park
Community, Recreation and Culture Committee Chair Yani Johanson says this is just the kind of project the council should support. “The ArtBox is a fantastic concept and worthy of support. It is a project that turns an inner city site currently used as a car park into an art park.
“I believe the creative sector has a vital role to play in returning economic, social, and cultural activity to the city centre. By working together with CPIT, the council gains a lot from a small grant to ensure there are affordable spaces available for local creativity to flourish.”
The committee’s funding will cover a shortfall in operating expenses, so that CPIT can keep costs down for artists using ArtBox.
Seed funding critical
The CPIT Foundation provided the initial seed funding for ArtBox. “With the impact of the earthquakes on our community, the foundation saw the Artbox project as a critical component of the psychosocial recovery effort,” CPIT Foundation Chair Carl Pascoe said.
“Approximately 100 artists were displaced by this event. They lost showrooms and work space - two essential components for them to operate and generate income. These communities have strong and close links with CPIT’s Faculty of Creative Industries.
“Artbox provided an opportunity for CPIT to demonstrate leadership in the arts sector by providing a viable destination and creating flexible retail exhibition space for these communities,” he said.
Christchurch industry backs ArtBox
Industry partners have also provided valuable support. The CPIT Foundation, NZ Steel and Placemakers Riccarton were early supporters. Credit is also due to the Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust, the Christchurch Mayoral Fund, Creative NZ and product supporters Ardex, Q Brand, Webbs Auction House, Firth, NZ Heat Pumps, Blacks Fasteners and Chambers@241 for making ArtBox possible.
As ArtBox continues to evolve, the vision is for a five year plan and alternative future uses for the ArtBox units.