Here in Christchurch post EQ's the arts have suffered hugely. The major venues have been destroyed and now events are held in obscure places, often school halls. i particularly mourn the loss of the School of Music, which was housed in the beautiful old convent close next to the Catholic Cathedral. There were wood panelled rooms and tiny mysterious cupboards and corridors that led to tiny mysterious staircases.
Gap filler is a disparate group of artists who have made their own venues. They started in the gaps made by buildings that has been pulled down in the central city. After the big February quake, they moved into the suburbs. They began with concerts and movies held on the wall of the Mitre 10 hardware store in Beckenham. They showed some very cool political docos. Then they used cleared rubble sites for art exhibitions, small installations and poetry readings. My favourite is the cleared site of the old Herbal Dispensary. In the middle of the wasteland is a random fridge, and in the fridge are books. It is a free book exchange; the idea is to leave a book that inspired you, and take one. It's always full and the books do change. The next project is pianos. Pianos salvaged from the School of Music are being painted bright colours and left in odd places around the city, for people to play whenever they feel like it. There is another project where 'post cards' are placed in crevices or nooks around the city - just little notes with messages to be found by strangers.
These are all very low impact, participatory events. They are never particularly well attended but they show the arts are alive here, and there is a change of vibe from the highbrow Art Experience to something anyone can get involved in. Theyr'e great. Find them on Facebook.