Nau mai haere mai – Welcome to the Manawatū Art Trail

 In 2017, the first Art Trail Manawatū was instigated. Its intention was to profile and support the diversity of creative practice being undertaken within our region, offering opportunities for artists and visitors to connect free of charge. While the original intent of this yearly event has not changed, the method that it is delivered in has had to. 2020 saw the instigation of a ‘virtual’ art trail which now runs alongside the physical trail, offering a very necessary alternative. Visitors can now access our website to take ‘virtual studio’ tours, view artists’ profiles, and purchase artworks online, and (if a physical trail is possible) use this information to plan their routes.

Art Trail Manawatū 2023 is our community’s opportunity to acknowledge the dedication, skill, long hours, and sheer hard work required. On behalf of the artists involved in this year’s trail, the Square Edge Team are delighted to invite you into their studios and spaces.

About our trail

Art Trail Manawatū has 3 main components – the Trail Mix showcase exhibition, the virtual/ online trail, and the physical trail. Visitors are welcome to attend all or any of these events – and can do this in person or online. All events are free of charge – for both artists and visitors.

It is important to note that Art Trail Manawatū will go ahead virtually (online) regardless of Covid levels at the time. The online (virtual tour) aspect of our art trail is a critical financial support for many of our artists who have worked for many months to prepare work for the trail each year. Artists profiles, studio videos, artworks for sale and contact information will all be online from mid-October. Take an afternoon to virtually stroll through our beautiful artists’ studios, enjoy the rich diversity of work on offer, and undertake some early holiday shopping while supporting our local creatives – or use the online materials to plan your tour if our physical trail goes ahead.

A decision to limit, postpone, or cancel the physical aspect of this event is made closer to the time – if this is necessary. Our team will ensure updates are posted to all our social media.

The Trail Mix Showcase Exhibition

This exhibition opens at 5.30pm on the Friday night of the weekend before the trail (this is the first weekend in October). The Trail Mix exhibition is the recommended Art Trail Manawatū starting point. Join us at the opening event or call in and browse the works. This is a great way to see which works and artists are really engaging you, pick up a Trail Guide magazine, and start planning your Art Trail weekend routes.

An opening event is held each year and all are welcome to attend this. Please be aware that guest numbers may be limited on the night – dependent on the Covid level at the time. If you are keen to attend please arrive early so you don’t have to wait to get in.

The Online/Virtual studio tour

Our virtual art trail is a visual feast – and an incredible opportunity to gain insight into the often private and highly individual studio spaces and arts practices of our artists. Head along to our Artist’s Profiles section of the Square Edge website. Every participating artist has a written profile, images of their work and / studio, and many also have short video studio tours, and works for sale through our online shop.  It is worth taking some time to ‘walk through’ our virtual trail – even if you will attend the physical trail.

The Art Trail Manawatū Guide is also online – this is a great way to gain a regional overview of who is where for the trail weekend, and to see the breadth of talent on offer each year. If you forget your physical guidebook when you are out and about the online trail guide is handy!

Many of our current and previous artists also have articles in our online Artists Open Studio Magazine HERE.

The Physical Art Trail Manawatū event

The physical trail takes place over the second weekend in October, with artists based in both collective ‘hubs’ and their own studio spaces. Studios are generally open from 10am – 4pm on both the Saturday and Sunday of the trail weekend.

Individual open studios across our region offer a visitors a rare chance to really engage with an artists space, practice and work. It is well worth the effort to visit these spaces – your interest and visit means a great deal to those who have spent months working towards this event.

Art Trail Manawatū also now has two main hubs, which house several artists in one place. Square Edge Arts Centre and Caccia Birch Historic home offer space to many artists who may not otherwise be able to participate. Smaller hub spaces are also housed in shared studios in Palmerston North, Feilding, Foxton and Pohangina, also offering several artists under one roof.


Top tips for planning your trail experience: