Have you heard about ‘Vallery’ and the Coastal Arts Trail? If you watched Seven Sharp on Tuesday 2nd August, you may just have already.

Inspired by and created for the ultimate experience of New Zealand’s newest and largest arts tourism route, the Coastal Arts Trail. ‘Vallery’ is the world’s first art gallery campervan, boasting an eclectic range of works collected from the Manawatū, Whanganui and Taranaki regions’ galleries and featuring commissions from local artists.

‘Vallery’ who is very much a work of art herself from curator and founder Aimee Ralfini of Art Ache, is an experience that can now be booked through Quirky Campers NZ.

Taking you across fifty stops between the lower West Coast of the North Island, this self-drive Coastal Arts Trail adventure aims to attract a wide range of people interested in new arts and culture experiences and is a partnership between the Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA), Whanganui & Partners and Venture Taranaki. It includes an extensive collection of public art, street art, galleries, museums, open studios, workshops and events.

The camper took six months to develop thanks to an intensive design and build process and a few COVID-related setbacks, but Vallery’s curator Aimée Ralfini says the result was worth the effort.

“I love it when art connects with people outside a traditional white box space. Vallery is a completely immersive art experience – travellers can sleep under art, dine with art and recline on art, and it’s all integrated in a comfortable and practical way. We have carefully sealed and protected works, and we have translated art onto hard-wearing surfaces and fabrics so people can just relax and have fun.”

Featuring over 50 works by 26 different artists, Vallery represents just a taste of the sheer volume of art to be explored and experienced on the Coastal Arts Trail.

Chief Executive at CEDA, Jerry Shearman acknowledges the huge success of the collaboration between the three regions and over 50 artists, galleries, studios and museums, that have culminated in this world first.

“When it comes to leisure time, visitors are spoiled for choice here in New Zealand, and as a destination, it’s easy to feel like you’re competing against others; however, we know visitors don’t see those regional boundaries.”

“By working together with our neighbouring regions on this project, we can increase visitation that impacts all of the region’s assets,” he attests.

Manawatū artists’ work is exhibited throughout the gallery-camper, including iconic Manawatū artist Vonnie Sterritt, whose stunning landscapes celebrate the beauty of the region. One of Sterritt’s paintings has been printed onto the drop-down curtains that surround the cabin, allowing travellers to quite literally immerse themselves in the landscape. Rich green brushstrokes, taken from Sterritt’s depiction of a hillside, also wrap the seating area in the camper, and reappear on a set of bespoke deck chairs.

If you love art, adventure, rugged coastlines and need a holiday, get in touch with Leanne Edwards of Quirky Campers and jump into an immersive art adventure on wheels with Vallery enjoying a world first while you’re at it!

You can discover more on the Coastal Arts Trail on their website.

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