Young artistic debut

Benji Watson-Palmer with the pencil drawing he is exhibiting at the RenewArt exhibition in...
Benji Watson-Palmer with the pencil drawing he is exhibiting at the RenewArt exhibition in Queenstown.PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A budding Queenstown artist is looking forward to rubbing shoulders with professional artists and performers at his first public exhibition.

At 13, Benji Watson-Palmer is one of the youngest artists to feature at the RenewArt project, which will be held at the Queenstown Events Centre today and tomorrow.

The Remarkables Primary School pupil is among 100 artists in the Queenstown Lakes district — 20 visual artists and 21 performing arts groups — to receive funding to have their work displayed or performed at the free event.

Organised by the Three Lakes Cultural Trust, the project aims to lift community spirits and provide a paid opportunity for local artists.

Applicants had to submit a concept of what they would be creating, and how it related to the "renewal" theme.

Benji said he was encouraged to apply by his family, and the news he had been accepted was an exciting surprise.

He spent several weeks mulling over concepts before creating his pencil drawing, "Our Koru", over the space of a couple of days.

A prolific drawer with a particular interest in capturing fine detail, he planned to keep pursuing art when he started at Wakatipu High School next year.

He was looking forward to tonight’s opening, and watching people react to his work.

The trust gathered more than $180,000 to deliver the project and pay the artists for their work.

The event starts starts at 7.30pm tonight, 4pm tomorrow and goes to Wanaka next week.

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