Our curator, Audrey Baldwin, had a chance to talk about how First Thursdays hopes to regenerate the liveliness of our city via creativity and collaboration.

Thanks to Eng Choon Alex Lim for putting together this short text and video, which highlights and contrasts the bustling energy of First Thursdays versus our recovering central city.

Abracadabra! Wizards and ordinary folks joined the professionals as they stepped in rhythm to the music, occasionally clacking their wooden sticks with their dancing partners. Meanwhile, a larger crowd of families and friends surrounded the performers and swayed their bodies to the groove near the stage in the shopping mall. Display stalls, free performances and live music brought signs of life back to Sydenham as locals and tourists reappeared in the winter cold.

On the Thursday evening, Sydenham was touched by a brief moment of magic - a magic of creative arts that brought the community out and connected strangers together. But by 9pm, the stalls closed and the music stopped. The crowd disappeared and all was quiet again.

This was not an unfamiliar sight after the earthquakes. In Christchurch’s city centre, except some roads lined with bars and clubs, only a few pedestrians dotted the streets at 7pm on a Saturday night. Perhaps, the same magic wand that brought creative arts and life in Sydenham could be waved again to get the community out to the city centre, and to make Christchurch the city it used to be. Abracadabra!