uPflash: September’s Art & Artisan Fair this Sunday


Mid-morning this Sunday (which is the last Sunday of September 2018) it will be all go down at the Affordable Art &  Artisan Fair at the Black Sheep, Whakamarama.  And, this is an excellent time to start thinking about those gifts for “overseas”.

The Fair opens at 11am and is on until 3pm.  There is live music and good food from the Black Sheep cabinet or they can cook up one of their delicious menu meals.   There’s always breakfast and brunchers around the Black Sheep complex which opens at 8am.     Bring some cash:  the Black Sheep has eftpos (for it’s transactions only) but at the moment the Fair does not  Some of the exhibitors have their individual eftpos machines some do not.  So if you remember the days before “cards” – bring some folding stuff! 

One of the talented performers in the group Upland Road

The Black Sheep complex itself is large with several indoor/covered areas and also a very large courtyard and green.  Weather permitting the green is covered with the exhibitors’ gazebos.  But should Whakamarama still be subjected to the seasonal extremes we’ve been having, it’s no drama, we’re all inside!  There’s sealed parking right out the front and the complex is all on one level.

Missy Moo in her outdoor garb in August

or inside if it’s raining….









The Fair has a basic core of stallholders with new exhibitors attending each month. The fundamental requirement for exhibitors is that what they display and sell is local and original.  With any artisan produce such as flowers, relish, jams, chutney and chocolates, the same thing applies – locally made, small batch and not “commercial”.

You’ll get a flavour of the Fair from the archived articles here on ARTbop and from the conversations and video journalism produced by ARTbop’s Birgitt Shannon, the Fair’s principal event organiser and a Kati Kati based artist. (I’m including Birgitt’s ARTbop contributor statement at the end of this article)

Each month the Fair has a raffle of products donated by exhibitors and stallholders:  they’re always amazing and winners are so pleased with their prizes.  

The Fair exhibitors also provided products to create two special raffles to support one of the Black Sheep staff members with ongoing health issues – yes I wanted that bear!

The AAAFair has been operating since November 2017 – a collaborative community event between ARTbop and the Black Sheep.  The Fair was started to provide, and it does, an affordable venue for local creatives to exhibit and sell their art, art craft, artisan products and produce.  It’s been a great deal of on-going hardwork as we’ve worked to create an event “without a budget”.    We’ve had great support from local real estate firms:  Harcourts and First National in Bethlehem who’ve given us the product to create our advertising material.  The wonderful Graeme Belcher and Richard Hubbard of Harcourts also provided a large gazebo for the Fair – until one really windy night it was smashed into unrecognisable!

Right from day one, the Fair has also been supported by local media.  As one of the hopes for the Fair was to create a tourist attraction at Whakamarama we’ve really appreciated the articles and features from the Weekend Sun, the Lizard News and a spectrum of NZME publications.  And you can also check out the arts feature about the Fair in the Spring edition of Nourish Magazine.   Nourish is an established food-focused publication and we’re very proud to be included and very grateful for the support given to the Fair by Nourish founder Vicki Ravlich-Horan and her creative team.  There’s also a big thank you to all the shops and businesses which have displayed our self-designed posters and Creative Bay of Plenty which includes the AAAFair in its advertising and promotional material.

The exhibitors have also come forward to support and promote the Fair.  There’s a social media publicity team: check out the regular posts on the Fair facebook page and the in-Fair instagrams.  There’s a team which creates roadsigns and makes sure they’re out the week before the Fair.   A number of the exhibitors have had significant professional and business careers (and some still do) so an accounting and admin core has developed.   Most importantly there is an overall Promotions core working group – making sure we keep getting it out there.

So this Sunday – wet or fine – still or windy – dark or light – we’ll expect you down at the Black Sheep on the Corner of SH2 and Plummer’s Point Road, Whakamarama. 

Birgitt Shannon:     Kati Kati based artist Birgitt Shannon is a regular contributor to ARTbop.  Birgitt is also the principal Event Organiser of the Affordable Art & Artisan Fair at the Black Sheep Whakamarama – a collaborative community not for profit venture by ARTbop and the Black Sheep. Birgitt creates a monthly YouTube interview series with the Fair participants:  Art by Birgitt YouTube.  On her channel you’ll find images of her work, interviews with local creatives and projects Birgitt has been invited to be involved with.  You can also see Birgitt’s work online and at the AAAFair on the last Sunday of every month.

Website:   www.artbybirgitt.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/artbybirgitt/

YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCZIASqJ6YdF5eElBpJJVxvQ/featured?view_as=subscriber

Birgitt hard at work cutting additional stencils for the AAAFair road signs

Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current Managing 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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