Swansong for studio
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.