Uniquely Nelson manager and judge Simon Duffy, project ecologist Mel McColgan, project developer John-Paul Pochin and city councillor and judge Gaile Noonan. Photo: Andrew Board.

Science, art and retail collide


Retail promotions aren’t known for being overly scientific — but that didn’t stop a collective of talented folk from making it the centrepiece of an entry into the Uniquely Nelson Illuminate promotion.

The Illuminate promotion is run in conjunction with Feast of the Senses, to help brighten up the CBD in the middle of winter.

Arts Council Nelson helps find artists to showcase their work in the shop windows of Nelson retailers.

On Friday night, judges Simon Duffy from Uniquely Nelson, Lloyd Harward from Arts Council Nelson and councillor Gaile Noonan visited each display and voted for their favourite.

The unanimous winner was “Breath” which combined the skills of artists, students and scientific knowledge to create its entry in the window of the Nelson Provincial Museum.

Stream ecologist Mel McColgan says the inspiration for the display was a project to reduce toxic and solid waste while growing an understanding and sense of guardianship of Te Wairepo/York Stream.

“We’ve been trying to get the community to have more love for York Stream. So we’ve tried to come up with some cunning ways to encourage people to respect the stream and the life in it.”

Artist Vicky Smith was the brains behind the design but it was then given to students from Victory, Auckland Point, Nelson Intermediate and Nelson College for Girls schools to bring to life.

The first stage for the students was carving patterns onto the fish with a range of files and tools. Then it was to build electronic sensors for it. The sensors have been placed between Bishopdale Reserve and the Trafalgar Centre and collect information, including water temperature. That information corresponds, real time, with the colour of the display.

John-Paul Pochin says its been a pleasure to have been a part of the project. “It’s been a very cool project to be a part of. We now have a collective of people with knowledge in this area, thanks to Light Nelson, and we’ve been able to access that for projects like this.”

Simon Duffy says seeing such an in-depth project has been great for the promotion.

“I look at it as a really positive way for the retailers to connect with the arts community and enables the community to engage with the CBD. Even better this year, with first prize going to Te Wairepo/York Stream Project, as it involves some strong engagement with the schools within Nelson City.”

For winning first place the group won $800, in second place was Margaret Johnston and Global Culture winning $400 and in third was Donna Allfrey and Expressions Florist with $200.

Commendations went to Alison Abernethy and Nelson Sheepskin Shop; Caw Artist and Community Art Works; Jane Sussmilch and Marilyn Andrews and Paintbox Gallery.