Art brings people together. This is something the folk that bought the Bull back to Christchurch learnt when they raised over $200,000 to make the iconic Chapman’s Homer a permanent symbol of Christchurch’s strength.
Now they are doing it again, this time with Our Own Ron. Sometime in between the two major earthquakes that rocked Canterbury, the Christchurch Art Gallery held a Ron Mueck exhibition. For a lot of people, this exhibition stands out as a last memory of the city as it was. For others, it stands out simply because of the shock reminder Ron’s sculptures give us of our own humanity.
We chatted to the Our Own Ron team to find out why Christchurch needs its own Ron.
Why do you think this campaign is important?
We have heard so many stories from people who remember “that exhibition with all the big people”. Sandwiched between two earthquakes, Ron Mueck’s exhibition was the best attended that Christchurch has ever seen. The line snaked out the door, across the gallery forecourt and around the other side!
Ron has only made 40 works in his life. And now he has agreed to make one just for Christchurch. He actually visited the city in November last year. Together with Jenny Harper (director of the Christchurch Art Gallery), Ron walked the city and felt his way through how everything was going. His experience and conversations with Jenny taught him that Christchurch is in a state of cautious optimism.
The incredible thing about this work is that even we don’t know what it is yet; noone but Ron knows! We didn’t want to have any influence over what it could be, and it will be a beautiful moment when we all find out together.
What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?
We have run a campaign like this before, when we bought Michael Parekowhai’s bull back to Christchurch. It was incredibly successful (in fact, a PledgeMe project campaign record!). The whole city was behind the acquisition of the work.
Just like in 2013, the city is really behind getting Our Own Ron. As soon as we announced the campaign, we started getting checks in the mail. Our mission is to raise a total of $1 million. We’ve had some amazing supporters and enjoyed a great success with our annual gala dinner. Now, it is over to the great people of Christchurch to bring home Ron.
What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?
Yes we do! We just released a late entry but very special reward: a limited edition Our Own Ron Vespa Sprint, thanks to CMB Motorcycles, VESPA and Mod’s Hair. No more RONning around for one lucky pledger!
We have also been holding a number of “pledge parties” throughout the campaign. We are holding our biggest one yet on Sunday night to see out the campaign.
We would love to invite all our friends, supporters and pledgers-to-be to RONdevous with us at Dux Central on Sunday from 4pm. Tickets are $25, and all proceeds go to Our Own Ron. You will be greeted with a welcome drink, free food and DJs. Kids are most welcome too! We would love everyone to come along, celebrate and show us that they are “on for Ron”.
Anything you would like to shout out to your crowd?
We would love to finish up with an enormous thank you to everyone who have gotten “on for Ron”. We would also like to ask all our supporters to spread the word that we only have four days left to get Our Own Ron!
To show that you are “on for Ron”, you can pledge to their campaign page here.