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SCAPE Public Art announces Emma Bugden new Managing Curator

New Zealander Emma Bugden, is announced as the new Managing Curator of SCAPE Public Art, responsible for the selected exhibition element of the SCAPE Public Art Season 2019 through to 2021.


SCAPE Public Art announces Emma Bugden new Managing Curator
Curator and writer to make SCAPE selections for the next three years

New Zealander Emma Bugden, is announced as the new Managing Curator of SCAPE Public Art, responsible for the selected exhibition element of the SCAPE Public Art Season 2019 through to 2021, a three-year tenure.

Bugden has carved out a career in the arts over two decades. She is a recognised curator, writer, editor and contemporary art maven holding key roles including Senior Curator at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt, Director of the Physics Room in Christchurch, Director of ARTSPACE in Auckland, Curatorial Director at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Auckland, and Curator at City Gallery Wellington.

Originally trained as an artist, she has worked as a curator for both independent spaces and public art museums, holding key leadership roles within the sector. She has worked with over 100 artists to realise ambitious and challenging exhibitions that have toured New Zealand. Bugden has a reputation as a fierce advocate for artists with a passionate belief in the power of art to transform and enrich communities.

Bugden has served on numerous panels and trusts. She was New Zealand Nominator for the Signature Art Prize 2018 at the Singapore Art Museum and a Juror for the 2016 Walters Prize.

“It is wonderful to have the opportunity to work with SCAPE and I feel energised to work with artists in city spaces to present public art to excite and engage viewers of all ages,” said Bugden. “I have watched the Seasons develop over the years, evolving into a high voltage art event that measures the city’s heartbeat and puts the results where everybody can see them."

The announcement comes after the completion of a three-year curatorial term by Heather Galbraith, Professor of Fine Arts at Massey University, who worked with dozens of artists over that time to select artworks that have been developed, commissioned, and sited in response to the central city of Ōtautahi Christchurch.

The art trail the selected artworks create, and SCAPE’s wider programme of events, has become synonymous with Christchurch in spring – drawing large crowds both locally, nationally and internationally. Over 20 years, SCAPE Public Art has become the largest producer of new contemporary artwork in New Zealand.

“We are absolutely delighted to bring Emma on board and know she will make a meaningful contribution as we grow and build on the excellent legacy of artistic direction over the last twenty years of SCAPE,” said Deborah McCormick, Executive Director of SCAPE Public Art.

“We started our careers at the same time in Christchurch, I was setting up our first exhibition on a model based on art and industry in public spaces while Emma was Director of The Physics Room. We are excited to work together and share in her extensive national and international experience gained from working as a curator, writer and professional art judge.”

Bugden’s artwork selection will be on show in a range of spaces around Christchurch forming part of a broader six-week event for the city between Saturday 5 October – Saturday 16 November 2019.


Further information: 

About the SCAPE Public Art Season 2019

The Season 2019 will be SCAPE Public Art’s 21st Anniversary – that signifies 21 years spent revolutionising the open spaces of Ōtautahi Christchurch – and public arts practice in Aotearoa New Zealand.

SCAPE is known for its work bringing art outside the gallery walls and into the city, making contemporary art, both national and international, truly accessible and public in a fresh and exciting way.

Emma Bugden has accepted the invitation to take up the role of Managing Curator with SCAPE Public Art which will commence with the Season 2019 (5 October – 16 November). An impressive selection of local, national and international artists is currently being considered.


About the SCAPE Public Art Trust

SCAPE Public Art installs public art in Christchurch all year round with a focus on the annual Seasons. SCAPE is the Christchurch expert in the installation of public art, and the SCAPE Public Art Seasons are New Zealand's premier public art events.

Held in Christchurch’s central city public spaces and supported through a range of partnerships, the Seasons showcase leading national and international contemporary artists, and provide a springboard for emerging local talent. Artworks in the Seasons are created as a result of close collaboration between art and business. This is a highly regarded model world-wide.

Our Seasons provide an opportunity to focus on the introduction of new artworks whilst maintaining focus on the impressive base of legacy pieces.


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Written by

SCAPE Public Art

5 Feb 2019

Interests SCAPE Public Art install large scale, free-to-view contemporary public art in Christchurch city.