Article from the Hunter Independent (Melissa Comber)
Central Maitland shopfronts are set to become the city’s newest gallery, with a partnership between the businesses and local artists bringing art to the streets.
Coinciding with March’s Taste Festival, the Artastique street walk will pair up local artists and shop owners to create displays in the shopfronts along High Street.
Artastique is the brainchild of Studio Amsterdam’s Frank Winnips and Patricia Van Lubeck, based on a similar event held in Bergen, The Netherlands. The European version is now in its 25th year and in 2018 brought 40,000 visitors to the town.
Artist Andrew Bennett, who moved to Maitland from Sydney two years ago, said that one of Artastique’s aims was to bring artists back to the ‘offline’ world, with a changing gallery system and cost of living forcing artists out of cities and into regional centres, while moving towards selling their work online. “Artists move out to these centres and it’s become very fragmented,” he said.
“That’s our challenge – to bring these fragments back together again.
Additionally it will bring the art closer to the community, with the works from both amateurs and professionals easy to view and purchase.
This is open to every artist and every visitor,” Mr Bennett said.
“There are no gatekeepers here; it can be very inclusive.”
So far around 30 businesses between Maitland Regional Art Gallery and the Belmore Bridge have signed up to host displays, including Ken Lane Menswear in The Levee.
Owner Patrick Lane said he was happy to be on board.
“We’re invested in the city so we’re really interested in having this going,” he said. “It’s colourful, and it could bring a real vibrancy to the city.”
Artastique will run from March 8 to 18, 2019. Any artists or businesses who would like to be involved can find more information on the Artastique website.