Published: Thu 29 Feb 2024 11:43 AM
Car Parks on Cuba Street will be that in name only on Saturday 2 March – for one day 30 parks will be transformed into something quite different.
Each year over an 8-hour period up to 30 car parks in Cuba Street are taken over by the Wellington Sculpture Trust for PARK(ing) Day.
The event is an opportunity for Wellingtonians to enjoy a huge variety of activities and creative installations placed on spaces usually reserved for cars. Over the ten years it has been running hundreds of individuals and organisations have taken up the challenge to provide a temporary public space one car park at a time in Wellington’s most vibrant precinct.
The idea has been embraced by Wellingtonians as people have come together to create memorable, thought-provoking, and entertaining spaces that provide a window into what public spaces can be, albeit in miniature.This year's PARK(ing) Day event will be held on Saturday 2 March from 9.00 am to 5 pm.
Sue Elliott, Chair of the Wellington Sculpture Trust, which arranges the event with the support of Wellington City Council, said “those who have answered the call in the past have included: dance studios; architectural firms; artists, actors and musicians; environmentalists; designers; secondary school and university students; and landscape architects to name a few.”
“The many who have taken over a car park have contributed enormously to this event and, in so doing, added to the vibrancy and creativity of our city. This year will be no exception. The event coincides with the Fringe Festival, and this year we will be concentrating the parks in both mid and upper- Cuba Street to intensify the experience without the Mall in between.
PARK(ing) Day creates an opportunity for artists and creatives to secure a space to show off their talent and their ideas at little cost to themselves (the Trust helps with a $500 contribution to each space for participant’s time and materials). So put the date in your diary and make a day of it.”
“This year’s parks promise to engage, entertain and challenge with an eclectic range of distinctive spaces: sit awhile in an ‘urban jungle’, try your hand a print-making; sit in an old-style photo booth and have the moment you connect with a stranger captured in 4 photo prints; make requests at a community radio station; explore creatively what Te Tiriti means to you; enjoy a sonic installation; take up the opportunity for body-painting; play percussion accompanying a live music performance; learn the art of flax-weaving; or simply relax and enjoy a real-life embroidery chat-room. . . These are just some of the many ideas likely to be seen on this year’s parks.
Contributors are asked to use their spaces to:generate debate around how public space is used;encourage public engagement and discussion of current topical issue, sustainability, and improved modal transport options; andimprove the quality of our urban environment through the use of car spaces for creative and entertaining activities.
The challenge of PARK(ing) Day is to think of a novel yet engaging way to occupy a parking space for a day and engage with or entertain the public as they pass by.
How do we use our public spaces? And how can we use them better? These are the questions for the day. Come along to Cuba Street and see how this year's applicants have responded to the challenge.
The Trust has also provided for a back-up day the following Saturday 9 March should the weather on2 March prove too challenging for participants.

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