A talented young artist in Auckland has been named the winner of oOh!media New Zealand’s ‘Art in the Hood’ initiative among an impressive selection of artworks created by children from 21 primary schools across the country.

Noa, a 12-year-old from Kadimah School, took out the award for her depiction of Auckland’s CBD, which deeply impressed the judging panel in a project designed to publicly showcase art with a local flavour.

“I was shocked at first, but I’m super excited to have won,” she said.

“I like my neighbourhood because it is calm and colourful. Although the city seems small, there are lots of things that make it feel big. In our neighbourhood there are lots of trees and lots of birdlife. We are lucky to have Myers Park nearby which gives lots of space to run.”

Students were asked to create pieces of art reflecting their neighbourhoods, with the best four artworks from each school displayed on the bus shelter nearest to that school for the whole community to enjoy.

From all the entries, 10 finalists and one winner were chosen, and these pieces are now also being displayed on oOh! Street Furniture and digital Retail screens nationally, as well as on the Urban Art Foundation’s sites on Lambton Quay in Wellington.

As the top entry, Noa took home a shopping voucher worth $200, while other entrants received certificates in addition to 10 lucky students who received art pack spot prizes.

The other 10 finalists included: Alexa (9) from Freeman’s Bay School in Auckland; Genesta, Twinkle and Jessie (all 12) from Kohia Terrace School in Epson, Auckland; Aria (10) from St Anne’s School in Christchurch; Paige (10) from Karori Normal School in Wellington; Ethan (6) from Ficino School in Auckland; Aniva (11) from Grey Lynn School in Auckland; Willa (12) from St Mary’s School in Auckland; Tyra-Jayne (12) from St Joseph’s School in Auckland; and Elsa (10) from Southwell School in Hamilton.

Along with industry figures, the judging panel included well-known art world names including Karl Maughan, Heather Straka, Liam Barr, John Walsh and Sara Hughes, as well as Andrew Hagen, Creative Director of the Urban Art Foundation, which earlier this year teamed up with oOh! to launch the biggest public art exhibition in New Zealand’s history.

Reflecting on the ‘Art in the Hood’ entries, artist John Walsh said it was a great community project: “Any of these would look great, and the kids will have their first tastes of art fame with all the drama and mystery that goes with it.”

Sara Hughes added: “It’s a fantastic initiative to bring children’s art into the public realm where they can be enjoyed by so many, and I look forward to seeing the artworks up on bus shelters around the country.”

Liam Barr congratulated all the competition entrants and winners: “It’s great to see these young artists put forward their best work, and I look forward to seeing this initiative develop in future years.

Judge Kevin Leith from Auckland Transport said he was wowed by the entries: “The artwork is incredible. If we need some freelance designers, we know where to go! Congratulations to all the artists for these amazing artworks.”

Nick Vile, oOh! New Zealand’s General Manager, said the company was blown away by the quality of the entries, and proud to support young artistic talent.

“We simply couldn’t believe the exceptional quality of the pieces as they started to come through, and the rich variety of approaches the kids took. The judges had a very difficult job picking a top 10, let alone an overall winner, and congratulations to Noa and all of the others for doing so well.

“We are really happy to be showcasing their works on our assets across the country, and letting parents, friends and families, as well as the wider Kiwi public, share in the fun.”

The first of the 21 shelter installations was completed on Monday, December 7 at Bayfield School in Auckland, with oOh!media hosting a special ribbon cutting event to mark the occasion.

For a closer look at all the entries, visit: https://www.oohmedianz.com/art-the-hood/