Once upon a time, a group of passionate artists decided something new needed to be done to celebrate all of the amazing visual artists in the Bay of Plenty and to connect them with the public. An open studio event seemed exactly what was needed, and BOP Open Studios was born. With funding support from both the Tauranga and Western Bay Creative Communities Schemes, the event rapidly evolved and now a huge range of local artists have applied to be part of this three-day event from 23 to 25 February 2024. The vision for the Open Studio Trail is to create a buzz about visual art and raise the profile of our area as a culturally rich and vibrant region to live and visit. At the same time, individual artists taking part will be promoted, connect with the public, share their creative journey and gain sales opportunities. Studio doors will be opening from Waihi Beach all the way to Pukehina and covering the area in between.
Local artists of all kinds such as sculptors, carvers, painters, printmakers, ceramicists, jewelers, weavers, textile and glass artists are encouraged to apply. If you are keen to get involved as an artist, get in quick, applications close on the 31st of May. You can find all the details at bopopenstudios.co.nz.
Let’s meet the creative minds behind this exciting event and discover why you should be a part of it.
First, meet Nicola Welten, an expressive painter based in Bethlehem. Nicola’s love for art and her desire to see more artists involved in a dedicated art event sparked the idea of BOP Open Studios. With her dream in mind, Nicola reached out to the creative community, and before she knew it, a team was forming. Nicola’s enthusiasm and dedication have been instrumental in driving the project forward.
Tracey Finch, a talented contemporary coastal painter, brings her artistic flair to the team. Relocating from the U.K. to the Bay of Plenty in 2019, Tracey understands the challenges of running a home studio while juggling family responsibilities. Despite the hurdles, Tracey’s determination to bring a unique opportunity to the Bay shines through. Her creative perspective and eye for detail make her an invaluable asset to the team.
Enter Constanza Briceño, a Chilean artist who has found her seaside paradise in the Bay of Plenty. Constanza’s work revolves around the harmonious interplay of colors and textures, creating captivating stories through layered compositions. When she discovered Nicola’s Instagram post about the open studios trail, Constanza couldn’t resist jumping on board. Her studio, a converted garage, serves as a hub for her artistic endeavors and children’s classes. Constanza’s enthusiasm and international perspective add a unique experience to the team.
Christie Cramer, an intuitive impressionist painter, has been sharing her passion from her Papamoa home studio for the last seven years. Currently in the process of setting up a new space in Otumoetai, Christie thrives on face-to-face interactions with visitors, offering glimpses into her artistic process. When Nicola and Constanza approached her to join the team, Christie’s excitement soared. She sees the event as an excellent opportunity for local artists to elevate their profiles, connect with the community, and forge new relationships among fellow artists.
Last but certainly not least, we have Shona Mackenzie, a process-driven, semi-abstract artist based in The Historic Village. Shona, a self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist, saw the immense potential of an open studio event in Tauranga. She envisioned a platform where local talent could flourish, fostering connections and celebrating the creative spirit of the region. With her open studio serving as a welcoming space for art enthusiasts, Shona understands the value of engaging with the public, fostering meaningful conversations, and forging new connections.
Together, this dynamic team of artists forms the backbone of BOP Open Studios. Their shared vision and unwavering dedication have propelled the event forward, generating excitement throughout the Bay of Plenty community. By participating in the art trail, you’ll not only have the chance to showcase your work but also connect with like-minded individuals and gain exposure to a diverse audience.
BOP Open Studios is not just about art; it’s a celebration of the vibrant artistic community in the Bay of Plenty. Join Nicola, Tracey, Constanza, Christie, and Shona in making BOP Open Studios an unforgettable experience, fostering creativity, connections, and artistic growth in our beautiful region.