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Letting Space Project Unveiled For Auckland Arts Festival

*Letting Space Project Unveiled For Auckland Arts Festival 2011***

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*NEWS RELEASE: For immediate release*

*21 DECEMBER 2010*

Wellington Public art programme Letting Space today announced its first foray into Auckland in March 2011, as part of Auckland Arts Festival 2011, with a work by the artist group Suburban Floral Association.

The growth in empty retail space means strong demand for the services of Letting Space, say curators Mark Amery and Sophie Jerram.

“A high vacancy rate in the retail sector has created many opportunities for artists,” says Letting Space curator Sophie Jerram. “The Suburban Floral Association’s work is perfectly positioned to bring new life into a monocultural retail environment.”

During the Festival the Suburban Floral Association will work in Auckland’s inner city shopping area to bring floral blooms into a recession hit inner city shopping area.

“This work aims to open up conversation between different people through something we all identify with: the blooms of plants. Shopfront asks whether the established planting of the suburbs can help pollinate the fallow ground in the inner city,” say the curators.

The festival project will be staged in a retail space yet to be announced, Shopfront is an alternative gardening project that will change regularly– as cinema, gallery, seminar space, front yard and living room - a space where relationships between flowers and people will also change.

The Suburban Floral Association’s project also recalls the floral events of festivals of the 1960s and 70s when the influence of Agricultural and Pastoral Shows and Country Women Institute events were strong.

The Suburban Floral Association is a collaboration between Auckland artists Monique Redmond and Tanya Eccleston. For more information on the Suburban Floral Association's activities and events, please subscribe to the online forum,

*Shopfront* is part of the Visual Arts programme for Auckland Arts Festival, the region’s biggest celebration of arts and culture. In 2011 more than 75 separate events will be staged over two and a half exciting weeks. More details on the programme can be found at

*About Letting Space*

Public art programme *Letting Space* commissions leading contemporary artists to work in vacant commercial properties, interacting with a wider community, and with the intention of transforming relationships between artists, property owners and their city. Letting Space 2010 projects in Wellington have included Tao Wells’ controversial project The Beneficiary’s Office, in which Wells’ set up a PR company to promote the benefits of unemployment, and Kim Paton’s Free Store, in which Paton set up an independent grocery store giving away food for free to explore the systems of food distribution. Versions of the Free Store as community projects are now opening in Waitakere and Wellington. More information is to be found at

*About Auckland Arts Festival*

Auckland Arts Festival is the region’s biggest celebration of arts and culture. The biennial Festival, which began in 2003, will celebrate its fifth birthday in 2011 with a dazzling line-up of more than 75 separate events involving over 500 artists – concerts, productions, arts exhibitions, and programmes of seminars, workshops and family activities. Major Festival events take place all across the city – in West Auckland, The North Shore, and South Auckland and in the central city – as well as site-specific sculptural works that respond to our unique geography.

*About the artists*

Monique Redmond is an artist and teacher living in Mt Albert, New Zealand. She is interested in front gardens, flowering trees and blooms that occupy suburban spaces. The suburban context, its sites, architecture, planting and gardens are a source for installation and photographic works that both draw upon and document the lived spaces of her everyday. She is currently Programme Leader Visual Arts at the School of Art and Design, AUT University. She has initiated or exhibited as part of a range of major art projects both in New Zealand and Australia.

Tanya Eccleston is an artist, writer and teacher now living in Avondale, New Zealand. Her own interests as an artist are in working with social contexts and communities. She has recently immigrated to Auckland from Glasgow, Scotland where rhododendrons grow wild as weeds in the hills and no-one would dream of planting one in their front garden. Tanya was formerly Acting Head of Glasgow School of Art where she developed their Environmental Art programme.

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*Shopfront *

*Suburban Floral Association*

*Auckland Festival*

*Tuesday 8 March – Saturday 19 March*

*Site to be confirmed*

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