Last spring ten beautiful new trees appeared on Victoria Avenue. Some were filled with magical birds and others blossomed with large exotic flowers. For three months these trees brightened empty shop windows on Whanganui’s Mainstreet. This project, called Art For Windows was created by Sietske Jansma and Andrea Gardner, the education team at the Sarjeant Gallery, in conjunction with Mainstreet Wanganui. Noticing that many shop windows were vacant, Sietske and Andrea thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to showcase artwork by Whanganui primary students as well as add some beauty and colour to the downtown thoroughfare. Students from Keith Street School, St. John’s Hill School, Aranui School, Fordell School and the Whanganui Homeschool group all came to the Gallery to do printmaking sessions focusing on birds and flowers. Later their prints were assembled onto large painted trees, and with the help of Elise Goodge at Mainstreet Wanganui and the generous permission of various landlords, the trees were installed in empty shop windows.
A selection of these beautiful images have been made into greeting cards and will be available for sale at the Sarjeant Gallery shop. Sietske and Andrea hope to do more “Art for Windows” projects this year. Students were thrilled to see their artwork on display and the public response was very positive.
Sietske and Andrea work with primary, intermediate and secondary schools in Wanganui and the surrounding region. The education programme is free and is funded by the Ministry of Education LEOTC (Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom) and the Wanganui District Council. Using their new purpose built classroom on 38 Taupo Quay, Sietske and Andrea teach sessions based on the current exhibitions and also design sessions in response to teacher requests and for special community projects. Teachers can book in their classes for a session at the Sarjeant Gallery by calling Sietske Jansma or Andrea Gardner at 06 349 3279 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org