Sarjeant Happenings: Community artwork to enhance gallery site wall
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Sarjeant Happenings: Community artwork to enhance gallery site wall

Sarjeant Happenings: Community artwork to enhance gallery site wall

Sarjeant Gallery education officer Sietske Jansma with some of the painted panels already completed for the community wall.

The Sarjeant Gallery invites everyone in Whanganui to take part in decorating a portion of the 2m high, 200m long fence around the redevelopment site on Pukenamu Queen’s Park.

A mural of birds, insects, flowers and plants, painted by the community, will celebrate nature and beautify 35 metres of wall for the next three years. The artwork, painted on boards with house paint, will be arranged along the wall in a colourful patchwork mosaic.

Education officer Sietske Jansma will facilitate 10 free painting workshops at the gallery. Materials are provided and all-comers are welcome.

“I’d just like people to enjoy themselves. No pressure. You don’t have to be good at painting – just have fun. We have had young children, pre-schoolers, older kids and adults, some with experience and some with none whatsoever. I’d really like to have more adults now. I will offer help if people want help, otherwise they can just go for it,” Jansma said.

While people can do what they want within the theme, if they need inspiration and help with drawing Jansma will provide photocopies that can be traced.

“It’s just meant to be a relaxing, enjoyable experience, and social as well.”

There will be a maximum of 16 people per workshop and five or six different-sized boards – squares and rectangles (landscape or portrait shape) – to choose from.

“Some people may do it in two hours but if not they can return to finish off. People can come with family members and share a board if they like.”

Once the paintings are dry, Jansma will fit them together in a mosaic pattern along the wall and screw them into place.

“People will be able to put their name on the back and I will record where they are placed in a key system. If the paintings are still in good condition people can collect them at the end of three years. “

She said people have been very enthusiastic but then the second Covid-19 lockdown intervened. People are encouraged to reignite their enthusiasm for the artwork and to contact the Sarjeant Gallery to book a place in a workshop up until November 21, ph 06 349 0506 or email

By Helen Frances

This article first appeared in the Whanganui Chronicle and NZ Herald online. See here.