Interest in art grows again
Show moves to school gym
From small beginnings more than four decades ago, the Wanaka Arts Society now has more than 100 active members.
Phyllis Bethune founded a Wanaka arts group in the early 1970s and ever since, members have been quietly ticking off two shows a year, one at Easter, the other at Labour Weekend.
Encouraged by growth in entries and sales recently, the society is ‘‘going big’’ this year.
It has secured one of the largest venues it has ever exhibited in, the gymnasium at the Wanaka Primary School, for its Labour Weekend exhibition, Out On A Limb.
The space will be shared with the Wanaka Camera Club and Le Jardine Garden Centre.
After a short break from exhibiting with the society, Wanaka’s quilting group is rejoining the party, society president Susie Ruddenklau said last week.
‘‘We’ve been around for a long time and have had a lot of exhibitions. We have just started a youth section and it’s quite popular and burgeoning into something quite big too,’’ she said.
She is hoping for a record attendance, after more than 1000 people went to the society’s Easter exhibition at The Venue.
Attendances could fluctuate year to year, depending on the weather, economic climate and other activities in town, but the last two exhibitions had been ‘‘huge’’ in terms of people through the doors, Ruddenklau said.
As the town’s population continued to grow and people began building houses again after the recession, art workshops and locally produced art were more in demand than ever. However, the downside of growth was increasing competition with weddings and other events to secure a venue, Ruddenklau said.
Skilled: Wanaka artist and teacher Simon King is the guest artist and judge at the Wanaka Arts Society exhibition at Labour Weekend.