Plans for a transitional museum and art gallery in Invercargill are coming together with the space expected to open in early 2020.
The public space showcasing Southland/Murihiku heritage and art is being developed as a collaboration between Southland Museum and Art Gallery (SMAG) and the Invercargill Public Art Gallery (IPAG).
SMAG manager David Luoni said a building consent for the space on the corner of Don and Kelvin Sts was issued on Wednesday (September 25), meaning building work can now begin.
The building work has been tendered and was likely to be completed in December, to be followed by an eight-week exhibition fit-out, meaning an early 2020 opening date, Luoni said.
“Establishing a museum and art gallery space to the standard that Southland deserves is exciting. The jigsaw is coming together.”
This has involved securing funding, applying for building consent, designing the fit-out and first exhibition, and tendering the work, he said.
IPAG manager Sarah Brown said an important element was the design of a climate control system, that will allow the display of fragile collection items and mean the space can host touring exhibitions, from the likes of Te Papa Tongarewa.
The plan is to rotate exhibitions approximately every four to six months to make for a more engaging space.
The first exhibition titled ‘Exploratorum’ will respond to public feedback from the ‘Our Tale’ and ‘Art in the Heart’ consultations, she said.
Luoni said community engagement was a key focus for staff, such as SMAG’s collaboration with Mīharo Murihiku on the Kolose: The Art of Tuvalu Crochet, an exhibition currently on display at the Mīharo gallery in Don St.
SMAG and IPAG are working with the organising committee of Hui-ā-iwi on an exhibition being hosted at ILT Stadium Southland in late November as part of the Ngāi Tahu cultural festival.
Meanwhile, collections staff were making significant progress cataloguing and packing the largest collection items at the pyramid in prepration for relocation, he said.
Luoni said cleaning, sealing and painting work on the roof was scheduled to be completed this summer. This work was required to ensure the roof remained watertight, protecting the collection, and to remove the green tinge on the roof surface.
Brown said in addition to work on the new space, IPAG staff were working on phase two of their Collection Transition and Relocation Project – following the collection shift from Anderson House to the Invercargill Public Library.
“This has resulted in approximately 300 works on paper being unframed and prepared for conservation work. Once this is completed this will be the largest conservation project the gallery has undertaken to date,” she said.
It had included researching the many artists in the collection in order to obtain copyright of their works and sharing these online, Brown said.
IPAG is hosting the Muka Prints exhibition upstairs at the library on Friday (September 27) and also has a collaborative collection exhibition at the Eastern Southland Gallery, titled ‘Southland Treasures from the Age of Rodin’.
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