Swan­song for stu­dio

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

VIS­I­TORS to Cross St Stu­dios in the last three years may not have re­alised that be­hind the walls of the gallery is a home like no other in Auck­land.

There is a quirky ar­range­ment of tiny, roughly-built apart­ments and an artist’s work­shop filled with the most eclec­tic col­lec­tion of odds and ends imag­in­able.

It is this ec­cen­tric home that 10 artists will say a sad farewell to when the stu­dio closes its doors for­ever this week.

For the last three years the stu­dio, be­hind Karanga­hape Rd, has been home to the Cross St Col­lec­tive, a group of artists who have lived in and op­er­ated the gallery and stu­dio.

Now they are be­ing driven out by ris­ing rent costs and the space, that has hosted some of Auck­land’s best up-and-com­ing artis­tic tal­ent, will be empty.

Col­lec­tive di­rec­tor Tessa Stub­bing has lived in one of the small rooms for the last year and says the group, that has be­come like fam­ily, is very sad to be leav­ing but had seen it com­ing for a while.

“Every­one’s pretty gut­ted,” she says.

“This year was go­ing to be the most pro­fes­sional and best year yet.”

A two-night only End of the Road ex­hi­bi­tion this Fri­day and Satur­day will be an ap­pro­pri­ate send­off for the space that has housed so much cre­ativ­ity, says Tessa.

End of the Road will be a col­lec­tion of art from past and present col­lec­tive mem­bers and friends with ev­ery­thing avail­able to “cash and carry” off the wall on the night and means first in, first served.

Tessa, a graphic de­signer, says the group cur­rently in­cludes a huge va­ri­ety of artists, from a web de­signer and a sound en­gi­neer to a painter, an ac­ro­bat and a mu­si­cian.

To­gether they have co­or­di­nated all the stu­dio’s ex­hi­bi­tions, plays and mu­sic per­for­mances over the years, with many un­der­age bands mak­ing use of the non-li­censed space.

Tessa says a high­light for her was Zine­fest, a mag­a­zine en­thu­si­asts’ con­ven­tion, held in the stu­dio last year.

“That was my baby,” she says.

She says al­though there are other artist-run spa­ces around the coun­try, none are like Cross St.

“We’re open to every­one. Any­one can put on some­thing here if they have a pro­posal.”

For now, she says the group will be go­ing their sep­a­rate ways and tak­ing a break be­fore re­group­ing in a cou­ple of months to dis­cuss their new di­rec­tion.

Steven Lyons, di­rec­tor of fel­low arts col­lec­tive Makeshift, is co-cu­ra­tor of End of the Road.

He says for a col­lec­tive space to last three years in Auck­land without fund­ing is “in­spi­ra­tional”.

“Cross St Stu­dios gave a lot of artists con­fi­dence in the way that it chal­lenged the con­ven­tional idea of a gallery space,” he says.

End of the Road is on at 27 Cross St this Fri­day and Satur­day from 6pm to 9pm.

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