We're excited to announce our summer event is coming up!
First Thursdays Christchurch invites you to join us for LIFE AQUATIC this December.
Dive into Sydenham and soak up the sights and sounds. Join us for a night of free arts and entertainment. Combining art, exhibitions, live music, installations, hands-on arts activities, night markets and more, there's something for everyone!
Art galleries and shops at The Colombo and throughout Sydenham will be open late, as well as numerous pop up exhibitions featuring work by local and national artists. With LIFE AQUATIC as our theme, we'll be celebrating everything H2O and offering an opportunity to immerse yourself in the arts.
Local businesses will host fresh new work by Aiko Robinson, Kim Lowe, Clint Park and Hannah Heslop. Our famous night market at The Colombo will have an array of goodies for purchase and perusal, accompanied by live music and fabulous food. Get into the flow with free life drawing sessions, break dancing performances by Common Ground, a live stencil mural created by Porta and friends and much more!
Whether you’re an arts advocate or have never set foot in a gallery, First Thursdays is an evening to experience a variety of art, to celebrate Christchurch’s talent and explore Sydenham’s hidden gems.
This event is proudly supported and made possible by The Colombo, Pablo at 383 Colombo St, Ara Institute of Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, BNS Design & Print and Arts Voice Christchurch
Keep an eye out for flyers, brochures and Facebook for updates and more details closer to the date.
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!
As a not-for-profit organisation, First Thursdays relies on sponsorship from key partners in the Sydenham community as well as funding from local government. We are working hard to find ways to make this event as self sufficient as possible while retaining our values of paying our commissioned artists and supporting local businesses.
We could not deliver our programme without the support of our amazing sponsors - The Colombo, Powell Fenwick/Pablo at 383, The Ara Institute of Canterbury, BNS Design and Print and Arts Voice Christchurch.
As part of our fundraising efforts for August, we have been wonderfully supported by local artists who have donated an image to use in a series of collectible badges. Six artists have generously let us use a detail from new and existing artworks to create limited edition, 55mm diameter tin badges.
Wear your support for the arts on your chest/hat/bag/scarf/anywhere you can pin it!
We are offering these badges for $20 each. Each series is limited to 40 badges; so get in quick!
Badges are available to purchase from Chambers at 241 Moorehouse Ave, C1 Espresso on the corner of Tuam and High St and via arrangement with Warren Feeney and Audrey Baldwin.
Would you like to be part of the magic behind First Thursdays? We are looking for volunteers to help set up exhibitions, crowd-wrangle and assist artists as well as look after exhibitions and artworks on the night.
As little as an hour of your time could go a long way to helping lighten the load!
Keep an eye out for our teaser poster - a 'save the date' and invitation to start getting excited about our next event, this August.
We are very excited to announce the theme for our next event! WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE will see an array of flora, fauna and adventure come to Sydenham.
On Thursday 3 December, we are encouraging Christchurch to take a walk on the wild side! Art galleries and shops will be open late, as will numerous pop up exhibitions where you can snap up original artworks or swirl a glass of wine thoughtfully. Some highlights include an interactive colouring in mural at The Colombo, art exhibitions featuring work on LP covers and skate decks as well as visiting artists in residence at Embassy and a Safari Treasure Hunt for the littlies. From air guitar competitions and art exhibitions to a petting zoo with all sorts in between; we've got something for everyone!
Our curator, a creative mad-woman at heart, decided to create a giant robot to hang out in the foyer of The Colombo in her 'spare' time.
Many thanks to The Colombo for use of their space and scissor lift to install him!
He's been named Zentee by Skylah, and will be making his home in the area until Friday 6th February.
With a HUGE thank you to some very generous funders, our Boosted Campaign was a success! We are thrilled to be able to bring our showcased works to the next level with this additional funding and can't wait to have you join us on the night to celebrate art and innovation in Christchurch!
We're running a Boosted campaign in an effort to put extra cash towards some key works in the programme. If you are a supporter of the arts in Canterbury, we heartily recommend you take a look at the campaign here!
Every little helps!
A series of photos from our first event from the wonderful Naomi Haussmann. She captured many stars from the night!
Here are a few photos from our first First Thursdays - Stars of Sydenham. Many thanks to Chris Boyd for playing paparazzi and capturing the best sides of everyone involved.
For anyone interested in learning more about the presence of the arts in Sydenham in a more structured way, there will be a free guided walking tour. One of Christchurch's most engaged and experienced art historian/curator/all-round enabler - Dr. Warren Feeney will be hosting the tour, exploring and shedding light on the current exhibitions running in Sydenham based galleries.
Beginning at The Colombo at the Fitting Room group exhibition, the tour will encompass Dilana Rug Gallery, Jonathan Smart, Blue Scarlet, City Art Depot, Form, Gallery 464 and the off-site Physics Room Projects. Along the way there will be insights into the pop up artworks that are part of First Thursdays event and a pit-stop at the al fresco dining and music areas for extra refreshments to fuel the journey.
Having directed CoCA for over a decade, Dr. Feeney continues to write regular local and national art reviews as well as lecturing art history at Otago University. He also established and administrates Chambers 241 Gallery - a key space for the professional development, exhibition and studio practices of local artists. No one could be better qualified to lead an intrepid walking tour exploration of Sydenham galleries with insight, humour and a specific historical understanding of the galleries and sites involved.
The tour begins at the Fitting Room exhibition at The Colombo at 8pm, and is expected to take approximately 90minutes.
Sydenham is a hot spot for various forms of street art. This unique precinct has it all - from murals by local, national and international graffiti artists to paste ups and cheeky stencils; there's a lot to see. Reuben Woods will be hosting the walking tour highlighting some of the street murals of Sydenham, offering an opportunity to learn about, and engage with an important facet of the new face of Christchurch.
Reuben is a PhD student at the University of Canterbury who's research focus is graffiti, post-graffiti and street art, specifically their varied presence within Christchurch's post-earthquake environment. He has lectured on graffiti and street art at the University of Canterbury and contributed to numerous projects since the post-quake period. He is also the founder of www.whatisthatchch.co.nz, which documents the independent art found in Christchurch's streets, large, small, permissioned and otherwise.
Join the early evening walking tour of the 15+ street murals throughout Sydenham - all within close vicinity from the evenings events. The tour departs from Underground Coffee, The Colombo at 6pm and takes approximately 90 minutes.
Are you energized by mingling with people at art events? Do you want to gain experience or just help people find their way around the event?
First Thursdays is inviting you to participate at Christchurch's newest, one-night-only art event on Thursday 2 October. Based in Sydenham, knowledge of the area would be helpful but not essential. The only requirement is a friendly disposition and motivation to let people know what's happening, and where to go throughout the evening.
We'll also be looking for volunteers to work directly with the artists - helping them get set up, packed down, or just re-fueled in the process. First Thursdays is a great opportunity to learn more about public art production and community engaged events.
If you're interested in finding out more please contact us at: