There are so many opportunities to participate in and support the upcoming Kāpiti Arts Trail:

Opportunity 1 
The perfect marriage is arts and hospitality combining forces all year round, but especially on November 2 & 3 and 9 & 10 this year, to welcome visitors to our district. If you are a business owner, wanting to provide something special to visitors of the annual Kāpiti Arts Trail, read on, and get in touch asap with Rosie Salas, Arts Advisor at Kāpiti Coast District Council. 

David Owen at his studio in Raumati South. Photography by Kim Kobialko, Studio Reset. 

Opportunity 2
If you craft object art and participate in any of the visual arts, you will already know that the closing date for applications for this year’s Kāpiti Arts Trail is next Wednesday, 15 May. If you are keen to join a hub, several are available. Emerging and established artists are encouraged to apply. Contact Rosie Salas directly with your questions.  
Opportunity 3
The Kāpiti Arts Trail is governed by a steering group comprised of artist representatives. Can you help shape future events? Contact Rosie directly. 
Opportunity 4
Pop these dates in your diary – November 2 & 3, and November 9 & 10. Start saving and start your Christmas shopping early! If you’re not an artist, you get to enjoy a weekend exploring with family and friends, learn more about the artists in our region, and take a peek inside their studios. In the meantime, take a look at the Kāpiti Arts Trail online directory
Earlier this month, we caught up with Rosie Salas, Arts Advisor at Kāpiti Coast District Council and asked her to share her thoughts. 
The Kāpiti Arts Trail is more than 20 years old. Why is it important to our region? And to our arts community?
The Kāpiti Arts Trail has become a very important event in the community calendar, and is the Kāpiti Coast District Council’s flagship art event. Many artists live here – many who have lived here all their lives and are deeply immersed in the history and culture of the area. Also, many artists are drawn to Kāpiti for the beautiful and inspiring natural landscape and its iconic island.

The Arts Trail began as an opportunity for Kāpiti artists to open their doors to the local community to celebrate the huge amount and the diverse range of creative talent in the district. It’s grown from about 30 participants to well over 100 artists last year, and is becoming a major drawcard for people outside the district to visit the Coast and see this wonderful creativity.

What are the key benefits for artists in being involved in the Kāpiti Arts Trail?
Besides showcasing artists and their work to the local community, the Kāpiti Arts Trail provides the opportunity for artists to meet their audience. Many visitors to the studios love the chance to meet and talk with the artist, and understand their work in the context it’s created in. The artist gets to know their audience and there is a connection made, which works both ways. Many artists see the Kāpiti Arts Trail as an important part of their business – it’s the way they make their living and they do hope to make good sales, either at the time or following the Trail. The Trail is promoted well in advance of the event, and each listed artist and gallery also gets year-round promotion through the Council website and the printed Kāpiti Arts Guide.

Rachel Pfeffer at her studio in Otaki. Photography by Kim Kobialko, Studio Reset.
Participation varies from established artists to those starting out in their practice. Why is this important?
The Arts Trail is inclusive because we recognise it as a way to support our emerging artists – alongside many, very well-established artist participants who are well known both regionally and nationally, the Arts Trail provides exposure to artists “on their way”. This includes some of our younger artists who have maybe completed training at one of the institutions based in Kāpiti, artists who are realising their long-held dreams of being an artist at a later stage of their lives, and experienced artists who have recently moved to Kāpiti. We are also very eclectic in our interpretation of “art” – following on from Creative New Zealand’s definition which includes “object art” and cultural art forms. We recognise that everyone has a very subjective response to artworks, and one person’s masterpiece is another person’s “yeah-nah”, even when the quality of either is beyond doubt. It’s important for the Arts Trail to encompass all media and styles of visual art. 
How many visitors participate in the Kāpiti Arts Trail and how much revenue does this event generate for the region?
It’s quite difficult to state numbers of live bodies, but we estimate around 27,000-30,000 visits to artists’ sites, representing perhaps 4-5000 visitors. Some years better than others – weather plays an important role here!

In response to feedback from many artists who are keen to have more visitors from outside the Kāpiti district, and also aligning with the Council’s desire to make Kāpiti a destination for visitors, we’re strengthening our efforts to attract visitors from outside the district. We know anecdotally that some cafes do quite well with the increased numbers of visitors during the Trail! 

We’re also putting out a call to businesses to support the Trail with deals and packages during the weekends of the Trail. This could be a set Kāpiti Arts Trail Lunch menu – cafes offer a set lunch menu at a slight discount to visitors on the Trail; or a guided minivan or bus tour of a selection of artists (perhaps in collaboration with a café offering a meal deal); or a deal on cycle hire, or a family ticket to the movies in the evening after the Arts Trail. We can include notification of support packages in our Guide if we receive the details early enough (in the next three – four weeks) and can promote the packages through our publicity campaign closer to the event. It would be a win-win deal. We sent out more than 16,000 Kāpitii Arts Guide brochures last year and reached over 38,000 people during the weeks of the Trail with our social media promotions.

New work by Alan Wehipeihana at his Paekakariki studio. Photography by Kim Kobialko, Studio Reset.
What are the future plans? We are always considering ways to improve the Trail. We’re looking at how other trails are run and we think that on the whole it’s a good model, but we hope to open this discussion up over the next couple of years to see if there’s a better way. Right now, we need some good hands on the steering wheel – we need artists’ representatives for the Steering Group. 
Artist links:
Alan Wehipeihana
To join the Kāpiti Arts & Creative Industries network, head to the Facebook page.

All photographs supplied by Kim Kobialko, Studio Reset