by Al Williams
Timaru’s Aigantighe Art Gallery has posted its annual report with pleasing results, its manager says.
Gallery manager Cara Fitzgerald prepared the 11-page document, which was released to the public last week.
The number visitors to the gallery had spiked in August 2016, she said.
“We held two popular events in August. Artarama, which is our annual festival of student art, was displayed in the main and entrance galleries.
“This showcased artworks from 32 schools from all over South Canterbury.
“In conjunction with Artarama show, we hosted a Winter Lights event, which was a great family-friendly evening.
“We had food and craft stalls, and spectacular lighting displays in the art gallery sculpture grounds.”
The events offered South Canterbury school pupils the opportunity to “celebrate their creative achievements”, Ms Fitzgerald said.
Another factor contributing to an overall increase in visitors to the gallery was an increase in public programmes, including artist talks and special events.
“Our exhibition schedule was a mix of national and local artists. Seven of the exhibitions had a direct link with South Canterbury, being local artists or community group shows who exhibited with us.”
Highlights included the gallery’s diamond (60th) anniversary, “due to philanthropic generosity of the Grant family, who gifted their home, garden and art collection to the Timaru District Council”, Ms Fitzgerald said.
“The Friends of Aigantighe celebrated 40 years of supporting the gallery and we are very thankful to their long-standing commitment to the arts in South Canterbury.
“Another highlight was hosting an international touring show of Japanese pottery, ‘The Rising Generation from Traditional Japanese Kilns’. It was a highlight because it resonated with our local and travelling visitors alike.”
South Canterbury had a long association with the ceramic arts and the gallery had enthusiastic supporters, such as potters and pottery groups from all over the South Island, she said.
“We are really excited about the diversity and range of exhibitions this coming year. One example will be renowned Maori artist Robin Slow in December.”
Ms Fitzgerald said she acknowledged the “wonderful staff and volunteers who make the gallery a delight for our visiting public, our exhibiting artists, the people of South Canterbury and all of our visitors”.