Rotorua’s public art, and why it caught our attention

So much of modern marketing is centered on great images. Instagram epitomizes this trend but in reality, capturing attention with strong images is nothing new.

What Instagram has done is make it look easy by allowing anyone to publish content. The people who are doing it well, are paying careful consideration behind the scenes to select images that tell the desired story.

Shout’s brand story was about combining the energy we bring with the business environment in Rotorua. Ideas ranged between office-based shots which were largely sedentary to cartwheels along the lakefront likely to cause injury (ah, no thanks).

We turned our thoughts to Rotorua’s CBD and what makes it vibrant. Various things were added to the list – beautiful trees, bustling night markets and yellow umbrellas in green spaces. The array of public art also sparked our enthusiasm, so we scoped the idea further.

What followed was a flurry of exploration including laneway art strung with festoon lights, sculptures with curves so smooth you had to resist tracing your finger and infrastructure brought to life with art.

The conclusion was, how blessed are we? Public art is a contentious subject, not least around the use of public funds. But in a CBD which struggles with historic poor planning, public art adds interest regardless of building occupancy levels which ebb and flow with the fluctuating economy.

Much of what we see is thanks to Marc Spijkerbosch, an awarding-winning public artist doubling as Rotorua Lakes Council’s Community Arts Advisor. The initiatives he supports are many and varied including sculpture and mural symposiums.

We would also like to acknowledge the artists who have produced the work that has caught our attention. To the best of our knowledge, they include Shane Walker, Regan Balzer, Tom Cosic & Eve Soemardi, Warren Houston, Jeremy Shirley, Tene Waitere, Shannon Wafer and Marc Spijkerbosch himself.

Inspiration was also found from other sources including AVC Café, who have curated the perfect space, and Phantom Billstickers who take a refreshingly creative approach to outdoor advertising.

To see more of Rotorua’s public art follow the Rotorua Public Art Trail and Power Box and Mural Maps. Failing that, next time you’re in the CBD, look around you and enjoy the art that provides a vibrant backdrop to life and business in Rotorua.