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Eye-catching... Alma Crosswell, of Rangiora, right, with Di Gillanders, of Rangiora centre, and Valerie McClatchy, of Rangiora, observing Rangiora artist Ryan Oliver's oil painting Angelina, during last year's Kaiapoi Art Expo which was held in the Riverview Lounge at the Kaiapoi Club. This year?s expo, which was to have been held on July 11 and 12, has been cancelled. PHOTO: SHELLEY TOPP

By SHELLEY TOPP

This year’s Kaiapoi Art Expo and the Waimakariri Winter Festival have been cancelled because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The art expo decision was made at a recent meeting of the Waimakariri Arts Trust, which manages the event.

“We get a lot of support from sponsors and at our recent meeting to decide the fate of the 2020 expo we decided that it would no doubt be more difficult this year,” deputy chairwoman Jackie Watson said.

“Added to that is the uncertainty of the future, restrictions on public movement etc.”

Although postponing the event to later in the year was discussed, it was decided this would be too difficult as so much has to be organised months ahead.

Artists who had already entered and paid for this year’s event, which was to have been held in mid-July, have been reimbursed.

However, next year’s expo dates of July 17 and 18 have already been confirmed by organisers.

It is the first time the art expo has been cancelled in 16 years.

“We are very disappointed but we couldn’t see an alternative,” Jackie said.

Waimakariri Winter Festival organiser Karl Horwarth said uncertainty about the Covid-19 crisis was behind cancelling the Rangiora event, traditionally held around the same time as the Kaiapoi Art Expo.

“We didn’t think it was wise to start the planning now, recruit all the volunteers, committee members, and do hundreds of hours of work when there was so much uncertainty.

“We also think we would have a lot of difficulty raising the sponsorship we needed for the event. So, it was a horrible decision to have to make, but we didn’t see any other way.”

However, the possibility of a spring/summer event in its place, maybe combining it with the postponed Waimakariri Festival of Colour, is being considered.

“But this would be very dependent on funding,” Karl said.