“We regret that the Gallery is currently closed for repairs.” I’m used to seeing that on the Christchurch Art Gallery website. But now there is a new message twinkling at me: “We’ll be reopening on Saturday 19 December at 10.00am.” Yes, the big news in town is that the Christchurch Art Gallery is set to re-open TOMORROW, and they are going to spoil us rotten with a Summer of Art. YAY!
The last exhibition I saw at Christchurch Art Gallery was Ron Mueck. Remember that? I was wowed, and took loads of photos.
But while the gallery has been closed to the public since 22 February 2011, it has carried on its work. In the process, it has changed the perception of what a gallery is, and does. I’d like to pay tribute to the amazing team at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu – in the last five years they’ve shown an art gallery is more than a building – he tangata, he tangata, he tangata (it is people, it is people, it is people).
Here’s some of the ways the crew have kept us art lovers satisfied:
Art in the streets
Outer Spaces and artworks out there in wilding Christchurch …
Read curator Felicity Milburn’s article Sparks that fly upwards on “five years and 101 installations in a gallery without walls”.
Art in libraries
Our temporary Central Library Peterborough could claim to be an Art Library. It features Richard Killeen’s the Inner binding on its frontage.
Central Library Peterborough also showcased splendid exhibitions curated by Peter Vangioni – books and art came together in a beautiful way.
There were a steady stream of interesting exhibitions in other places. I toddled along to a space above the NG gallery, upstairs at C1 Espresso/Alices on Tuam Street, and even to a show in a house at the Wigram subdevelopment.
Keeping us in touch
Their supercool mag Bulletin, blogging, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), regular articles in The Press (the latest in the series From the Christchurch Art Gallery collection is Lara Strongman on Wilhelmina Bay, Antarctica by Anne Noble) – curators and other staff continually keep up to date with arty stuff.
The Christchurch Art Gallery’s work over the last five years has kept kids in mind. As a Mum, that means a lot. For the re-opening, there’s a lolly wonderland by Tanya Schultz to welcome the kids in, as well as the Imagination Playground – and plenty more kid-friendly things to do and see. I can’t wait to take my daughter in on Saturday and say “Here you go! This is your gallery!”
Hopefully see you there on Saturday!
- See our photos of the Christchurch Art Gallery
- Our page on Art
- Find digitised art resources in our collection
If you want to know about the building itself over the last five years, Lara Strongman’s oral history of the gallery building, 2010-2015 is essential reading.