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Art in the Park to attract talented artists

The Art in the Park festival will take place in Pietermaritzburg this week. Picture Supplied

The Art in the Park festival will take place in Pietermaritzburg this week. Picture Supplied

Published Apr 26, 2022

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DURBAN - The organisers of the iconic Art in the Park festival are hopeful they will hold a high-quality, exciting and fulfilling festival as they bounce back from a hiatus caused by Covid-19.

The Art in the Park festival will take place in Pietermaritzburg this week. Picture Supplied

Founded in 1962 by the Publicity Association, predecessor of Pietermaritzburg Tourism, the premier outdoor art-selling exhibition attracts art enthusiasts and artists, who display and sell their work. The festival will take place at PMB's National Botanical Gardens from Thursday until Monday next week.

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Reflecting on its history, Dumasi Mhlongo, the director of Pietermaritzburg Tourism, said Art in the Park originally began at the Alexandra Park, with only a few artists.

“Artists were minimal and underdeveloped; however this event transitioned from humble beginnings in which only local artists exhibited oil paintings, sculptures and pottery, to one of South Africa’s leading art exhibitions.

Art in the Park festival will take place in Pietermaritzburg this week. Picture Supplied

“Previously, Art in the Park would be held at the end of May, which clashed with other big events such as the Royal Agricultural Show and Comrades Marathon. A decision was taken to hold the event at the beginning of May.

“Over the years Art in the Park has maintained a high standard of producing exquisite pieces big and small,” he said.

Mhlongo said the Art in the Park festival played an important role in the lives of many local artists, and was a key event on the city calendar.

He said the main objective was to give artists exposure.

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“Many artists can testify to our efforts in this regard. We are committed to delivering a high-quality event that is safe, exciting and fulfilling for all our stakeholders and patrons,” he said.

Now returning after a two years of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s edition will mark the 58th anniversary of the festival.

Mhlongo said over the years membership had grown tremendously, doubling the number of artists’ stands, and the number of visitors had increased every year.

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Hosts, the SA National Biodiversity Institute and Pietermaritzburg’s National Botanical Gardens, expressed their excitement at the return of the event.

The Art in the Park festival will take place in Pietermaritzburg this week. Picture Supplied

Mbuso Zondi, acting marketing officer, said the garden’s infrastructure had been prepared to welcome the expected influx of visitors to the event.

“We have enough capacity to support all the activities that will be taking place during the event. We feel that this event couldn’t have come at a better time, when people need activities that can reconnect them with families and friends.

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“While the Art in the Park event will be hosted in our majestic and beautiful Plane Tree Avenue, we encourage visitors to explore the garden and enjoy both man-made art (exhibition) and natural art (manicured gardens).

Kevin Palium, CEO of Creative Arts College, the sponsor of the event, said the festival had the potential to attract a large number of people, and stimulate the economy. “The Art in the Park 2022 is the ‘Chicken soup’ for Pietermaritzburg and KZN at large.

“Over the years this event has become a central part of many people’s calendars. After all the isolation, people are desperately looking to do the things that they used to do, the things that brought them joy.

“The Art in the Park festival is certainly one such event that thousands of people are looking forward to. Covid-19 protocols have become second nature to us, and they will remain the order of the day. Through these efforts, we can enjoy a safe, enjoyable, prosperous, and memorable Art in the Park.”

Tickets can be purchased at the venue or from the PMB Tourism office. For more information, contact 033-3450641 or visit the website www.pmbtourism.co.za

Art in the Park will run from April 28, 2022, until May 2, 2022, at the National Botanical Gardens, in Pietermaritzburg.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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