Art lives here


Source: Font Tauranga Public Art Trust

Tauranga has a new public art trust, formed to deliver an internationally-recognised collection of contemporary public art across the Te Papa peninsula.

Font Tauranga Public Art Trust was launched at a function attended by business, civic, and arts leaders at BOP Regional Council on June 7. Over the next 10 years, Font will fundraise for, commission, and gift to the city a suite of global-standard public art capable of enriching the experience of living in this gorgeous city by the sea.

Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services

Font co-chair Vanessa Hamm, partner at Holland Beckett Law, says the artworks will help make Tauranga a more interesting, vibrant, and invigorating place to live and visit, and secure our city a place at the forefront of contemporary art practice in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Font collection will be an enduring art experience, winding through and around the central city for many decades to come, drawing tourists and locals alike and ensuring a sense of legacy and contribution to community for all those who help fund the public art projects.

Public art is by definition free and accessible to all. Vanessa says the Trust’s vision is that everyone able to spend time in Tauranga city will be able to engage with and enjoy the sculptures.

Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services

“Our intention is that these artworks not only become iconic landmarks of Tauranga, but that they help nourish creative spirit in our arts community and inspire an interest among younger residents in the creative industries as a career path.”

Public art trusts are a tried-and-true community-led approach to securing public art, and have been running for many years with huge success in Christchurch (over 25 years, SCAPE has delivered 15 permanent & 250 temporary artworks), Hamilton, and Wellington. The civic transformation coming to Tauranga’s central city presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to embed contemporary public art into the design.

Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services

At the Font launch, Tauranga City Council Lead Commissioner Anne Tolley encouraged the business community to stand alongside local government in supporting this initiative.

From 2024, Font will be able to apply to the Council’s new public art framework fund. The Trust will also seek funding from various other organisations, and is very keen to develop relationships with local businesses, organisations, and individuals who share a vision for a more vibrant and accessible-to-all art-filled city centre.

The Trustees of Font are Vanessa Hamm, Stephen Hahn, Alice Scapens, Lisa Denyer, Keri Welham, Jo Bond, Lee Warbrick, and Ciska Vogelzang. The Trust’s project manager is Liz Cooper.

An independent curatorial advisory panel will set commissioning briefs, consider artist proposals, and select the artists to deliver works for the Trust. The panel is made up of Tauranga Art Gallery curator Serena Bentley, local artist and author Julia Paama-Pengelly, and former Tauranga Art Gallery Director, now director of the Dowse Art Museum and head of arts and culture for Hutt City Council, Karl Chitham ONZM.

About Font Tauranga Public Art Trust

Font was founded by Tauranga Art Gallery director Sonya Korohina, as a group of locals committed to the audacious goal of raising money for, commissioning, and then gifting a significant body of public art to Tauranga city centre over the next decade.

This world-class collection of exceptional contemporary public artworks will contribute to the imminent once-in-a-generation transformation of Tauranga city centre.

Font aims to ignite and nourish the creative pulse of Tauranga city centre, create a legacy of iconic landmarks that draw visitors and progress New Zealand contemporary art practice, and make our city a more interesting place to live.

For more information or to get in touch with Font, contact: