Farewell to rolling work of art

Arty, the Aigantighe Gallery’s iconic car, will soon be motoring towards new adventures. The car, a Honda, was purchased from The Courier for $1 by Friends of the Aigantighe in 2004, but was now up for auction online.

11336865 1011652875534928 64348260867062597 oIt was purchased by the group as a community outreach vehicle, but has been much more, Friends of the Aigantighe members recall. Past president Roselyn Fauth said the car had added colour to South Canterbury streets thanks to a working bee 10 years ago. ‘‘He was great fun to decorate. I will never forget the day that [former member] Mike Armstrong turned up to a ‘Paint Arty Working Bee’... and riveted his artwork to the driver’s door [and] Jeff Mill turned up with his plane propeller and power cord to add to the mix...,’’ she said. ‘‘Arty went from painted car panels to a quirky and imaginative beast.’’ However, not all the art work went to plan. ‘‘We originally had a ten pin bowling set on the bonnet, but we had to remove that to pass the WOF,’’ Mrs Fauth said. ‘‘We later discovered that if it wasn’t a permanent fixture we had more flexibility on what we could add, so we added a roof rack and the orange fin to the roof.’’ Mr Armstrong said the car’s artwork changed over time. ‘‘Over the past 10 years it has been an evolving artwork, constantly painted over by other artists.’’ The car brought smiles to many faces, Mrs Fauth said.

"The committee members, gallery staff and myself drove many students to balls, paraded him down Stafford St at Christmas parades, parked him up at festivals, outside the art gallery in the school holidays and at exhibition openings.’’ She said the car would be missed. "...he has been a fantastic way to get our name out there, and to entertain and inspire the community." However, she said the car was starting to look ‘‘tired’’, and instead of repainting it the group had decided to sell it. Money raised from the sale would go towards the group’s art restoration project, she said. ‘‘Artwork has been donated generously to the gallery, but some of it is not at exhibition standard. So, the friends started an artwork project to help conserve those artworks, not only for exhibitions, but so they won’t deteriorate any further; and be there for future generations.’’ As of May, the group had raised $6683 for restoration of 15 artworks. The money has been raised through various fundraising initiatives and donations. Gallery manager Cara Fitzgerald thanked the many people who had dedicated their time to Arty over the years.

The Timaru Courier
June 4, 2015