Transformation: from crass to cool – 2016 Sustainable Art Challenge

Sustainable Art Challenge 2016

Sustainable Art Challenge 2016

Up-cycled junk, trash to fash, photography, short movies – to be transformed or show a vision for a sustainable future. Sounds like huge fun despite the civilisation serious reasons behind the need to reuse, repurpose and recycle. The Sustainable Art Challenge is one of the events of the 2016 Sustainable Backyards programme.

I’m down at the Envirohub which is housed in an old wooden building flanked by two large, deciduous trees on the green at the Historic Village, 17th Avenue. The steep bank at the front and side has been slowly covered with waste vegetation by the Green Wizard and Co and is now home to fruit trees and an autumn harvest of pumpkins. The old building itself is garlanded with an herbal garden. Something has happened inside since I was there last – it glows – clean white with yellow trim. The kitchen is immaculate and the large meeting and workspace looks clean, tidy, warm and inviting.

One of 2014's winners

One of 2014’s winners

There’s a meeting going on in the main room – to discuss waste management policies. I meet with  Sarah Errico the Sustainable Backyards Co-ordinator whose French-vogue style combine with specific degrees and European professional experience. We talk at the little round table in the corner of the gleaming and welcoming kitchen area.

In a nutshell Sarah tells me the art challenge is to raise awareness about waste minimisation and non-exploitative aspects of production. This is across all facets of the competition. I immediately think of the small paragraph I read recently detailing the resources required to produce one teabag for one cup of tea. It engenders the same feeling as knowing how much water is required to produce cotton and the conditions in which some of our fellow humans work to make the clothing we so readily discard.

Another winning gem from 2014

Another winning gem from 2014

The promotional information from Sarah says: “create a piece of art showing your vision for a sustainable future. Entries are open to: intermediate, secondary students and adults within Tauranga and the Western Bay. The challenge runs from Feb 1st – June 11th 2016.

categories: Up-cycled Junk + Trash to Fash + Photography + Short movies. All entries will be exhibited at Baycourt (1st to 3rd July – gold coin entry). Entrants and the general public will be invited to attend the Sustainable Art Challenge Awards ceremony at Baycourt on Sunday 3rd July. There’ll be a viewing of the top entries for the short movies, the live Trash to Fash show and an auction of the Up-cycled Junk entries (you don’t have to sell it but if you do 40% goes to the Envirohub towards the cost of the 2017 challenge) There will be awesome prizes within each age category to $500.”

And after the season at Baycourt, the will be an exhibition at the Creative Tauranga Gallery, Willow Street, Downtown Tauranga.

Entry forms have to be submitted by June 11 2016 along with a photograph of the Trash to Fash and Upcycled Junk entries. More information on or phone -07 578 6664

Think this is a cool project – I do. Sarah says there will be 12 prize categories. If you would like to contribute a prize and/or sponsor a category please contact Sarah Errico on 022 434 5532 or

It’s ironic that as I’m leaving the Envirohub at the Historic Village I have a brief unscheduled chat with two residents who are wanting to confirm that Tauranga recycling is actually recycled, not dumped in the pit at the Maleme St Transfer Station. They also want to know that if “recycling” makes it past the pit, is it actually recycled. I suggest they contact one of Tauranga City Council’s former Councillors who will know the bureaucratic processes and follow through paths to answer their question.

Photo0481Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.


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