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City To Get Its Own Art Car

Christchurch's Mayor Garry Moore will drive the city's art car from a city art gallery on Sunday 19 November.

This will be the culmination of a project started by the Moving Arts Group Trust to manage the creation of an art car for the city.

Leader of the group is Henry Sunderland, well known as the city's gnomologist and also as the art teacher at Hornby High School who led pupils in the designing and decorating their school art car in 1998.

The Hornby car is decorated with small toys and other memorabilia and the pupils went on to create the art pram, art wheelchair and art garden. Now the Mayor wants an art car for the city.

So during next month an old Vanden Plas Austin Princess R will be created in the front gallery of the Canterbury Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCa) in Gloucester Street.

Then on 19 November the car will be presented to the Mayor and driven from the gallery.

Art cars have been around for many years and there are believed to be more than 50 of them in the United States. More information and photographs of art cars can be found on

Residents are invited to contribute items they feel represent life in New Zealand in the 20th century. Henry Sunderland says the items must be small (about matchbox size) with no sharp edges.

"We have had some great brain-storming among the foundation group of the trust thinking of items that we would like to put on the car," he says. "We have a big bag of one and two cent coins already. We have a pile of old floppy disks and CD ROMs and I suppose we will include a matchbox or two.

The Biro, food can, and pantyhose would have to be representative of the 20th century," Mr Sunderland says. He says there are thousands of possibilities and he expects to see plastic tikis and souvenir kiwis provided.

Anyone who wants to donate an item for the car should put it in an envelope with a name and address (and a few words describing why the gift is special to the 20th century) and send it to ArtCar, PO Box 237, Christchurch, or put it in a special box in the foyer of the Civic Offices, Tuam Street.

Mr Sunderland says the gifts and names of the donors will be recorded in an album that will be carried in the car. Artists already involved are Bing Dawe, Rick Lucas, Jennifer Matheson, Paul Deans, and Amanda Newell and other 30 are being invited to join them.

The trust is also inviting special New Zealanders to contribute items. Mr Sunderland says art cars "surprise and draw out in people that explosive moment of inner joy and laughter rarely seen in today's streets as New Zealand's governing bodies appear to give priority to systems rather than people."

Further information: Henry Sunderland: 326 6033, 349 5395 (x834), or 025 2787 586 or Christine Toner: 384 9167, 371 1708 or 025 339 598.

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