Museum Expert Hired To Take Invercargill’s Art Centre Project To The Next Level

May 12, 2017

A full consultation document reflecting what ‘the community’ wants in an Art Centre was released this week – highlighting Stage One of Invercargill’s Art Centre Project. The Southland Regional Development Strategy’s (SoRDS) action plan document released in November last year, lists the art gallery development as an immediate priority.

Speaking to this week Art Centre Project co-ordinator Janette Malcolm said Tim Walker, a highly regarded and recommended museum and art gallery expert, has been hired to take the project through to its final strategic plan, as there was a level of expertise that was needed and Mr Walker, of Auckland, was seen by many in the art and museum world, as the ‘go to guy’.

He has more than 30 years experience working with a range of New Zealand city and rural communities, playing a leading role in change management, innovation, community development and capability building – he has worked with a range of clients across the arts, tourism, iwi, museum and community development sectors, government (national and local) agencies, and non profit organisations throughout New Zealand.

Mr Walker arrives in Invercargill on Sunday (May 14) where he will have meetings with stakeholders and community funders.

Southern Institute of Technology students participate in one of the Art in the Heart workshops. Photo: Supplied

Stage One of the project, which included collating information from the 246 ‘Art in the Heart’ community postcards and information from the 182 participants from the 16 two-hour workshops held in the region, was unveiled last Sunday (May 7) to the public during a Pecha Kucha-style presentation at Repertory House in Invercargill.

More than 50 people attended the event, where Janette Malcolm along with Southern Institute of Technology, School of Visual Arts, Film and Animation programme manager Kathryn McCully, Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt, Arts Murihiku chief executive Lisa Tou-McNaughton, city centre co-ordinator Kari Graber, CS Art programme manager Michelle Dawson and Dan Davin Literacy Foundation member and city councillor Rebecca Amundsen, presented information on the subject.

During Janette Malcolm’s presentation she said there were four desired outcomes from Stage One for the Art Centre Project, they are:

  1. A Social Hub – with space for workshops, performances, a cafe, a covered outdoor area, retail, inclusive and accessible, with a unique point of difference and interactive
  2. An artistic anchor point – where art can be seen and which supported local art with classes, have a go, street art and sculptures, as well as new national and international art
  3. Improved capabilities of the arts sector – with a focus on audience development, education, mentoring, residences, classes, talks and workshops
  4. A home for collections – study being done on the best fit for Invercargill’s public art collection

Information from the public on the proposed Art Centre’s building design included it being an “iconic design on the outside which reflects something distinctive about the region” and the need for it to be highly flexible and sustainable.

Members of the public indicated they wanted the Art Centre to have a cafe, retail space, an art-house cinema and for it to be reflective of Southland’s heritage and local culture.

For the building’s preferred location, which has not yet been determined, the public wanted it to be in the central city with a prominent location and interconnections with other facilities.

Ms Malcolm said the working group decided it was important to find out what the community wanted for the Art Centre before finding a suitable location.

James Hargest College students were among the many Invercargill school students and teachers who participated in workshops. Photo: Supplied

The starting point has been an agreement in principle to combine, in one building, the current public art collections owned and/or located respectively at Invercargill Public Art Gallery (formerly Anderson Park),  Southland Museum and Art Gallery and the Southland Art Foundation.

The Southland Museum and the Arts Centre will be developed during this time in parallel – each having outcomes and solutions, and will look to be included in the Invercargill City Council’s long-term plan with building on the new Arts Centre, all going to plan, to begin in 2020.

During the PechaKucha-style presentation Kathryn McCully presented a talk and slide show about the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) in Tasmania – a privately-funded, multi-million-dollar museum.

She gave examples of how the museum has “integrated and immersed” into the city and region it is a part of – including transport and hotel branding, and has direct routes from the airport to the museum.

The Mona has interactive art displays and spaces, as well as large-scale installations, which are “engaging”.

It also houses an exclusive restaurant, wine bar and cafe and has retail space, and hosts two extremely popular public events, one in winter and summer.

She said the museum was an authentic and adventurous model that was unique, and that the Invercargill community could learn from the model in telling the “story of Invercargill”.

Venture Southland creative projects manager Angela Newell introduced speakers during last Sunday’s (May 7) presentations on the Art Centre Project.

Mayor Tim Shadbolt spoke specifically about murals in his accompanying slide show, which highlighted the many murals throughout Invercargill, including the Chorus boxes around the city which were designed and painted by “locals”, he said.

Mr Shadbolt spoke about artist Danny “Deow” Owen’s mural of the Battle of Bannockburn on the Scottish Hall in Esk St and its interactive app – where users can “virtually” re-enact the battle, as a way to include art in the city now, and suggested putting together a mural trail booklet.

Kari Graber spoke about the many sculptures that were around the city that many people “probably” didn’t realise were there, as well as the many different types of galleries in the city, including a Maori carving gallery – which was “amazing”. She also talked about having a regular weekly Arts Night – where the public tours these galleries of local artists.

CS Art founder Michelle Dawson talked about how the new Art Centre should reflect the inclusive nature of art and how CS Art successfully embraces artist’s with mental and physical disabilities, and how each artist looked forward to its annual exhibition, which reflected “a year of hard work”.

Rebecca Amundsen spoke about how art engages and deepens a person’s experience with art, and how it makes “everyone” experience art differently and that could be captured in a variety of ways, while deepening the community’s connection with art.

Lisa Tou-McNaughton said that Southland and Invercargill was surrounded by the arts, and the Arts Centre would connect people, link and enable positive things to happen for all those people who create art.

She said Arts Murihiku could offer assistance in financial governance, resources and assist with funding applications and talked about building on successful events like the city centre Yarn Bombing, the Southland Festival of the Arts, the Burt Munro Challenge and Polyfest.

There will be a free seminar on Tuesday, May 23 from 7pm-9pm at Southland Workers’ Education Association, 100 Esk St, where Janette Malcolm will discuss the Art in the Heart initiatives.


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