Mana Arts clocks up 30 bold years


In 1996 Edna Bul­ley­ment and Paddy Mcmillan were made Mana Arts So­ci­ety’s first life mem­bers – the lat­ter shakes her head as she won­ders where the time has gone.

The So­ci­ety cel­e­brates its 30th year with an ex­hi­bi­tion at Pataka’s Bot­tle Creek Gallery, be­gin­ning Thurs­day. Ninety-six paint­ings from most of their 78 mem­bers will be dis­played, show­ing a num­ber of styles, from wa­ter­colours to oils to mixed me­dia. All will be for sale.

‘‘I think the public will see that we’re a di­verse lot and we have got a lot bolder over the years,’’ mem­ber Stu­art Nicol says. ‘‘There’s a lot that we do and our lit­tle so­ci­ety is go­ing re­ally, re­ally well.’’

Mana Arts So­ci­ety has clu­b­rooms next to Plim­mer­ton Do­main, home to work­shops, life draw­ing and sketch­ing groups and scrap­book­ing and chil­dren’s classes. New mem­bers are al­ways wel­come, Mr Nicol says.

The in­au­gu­ral meet­ing in 1982 saw just 10 ‘‘hes­i­tant’’ art lovers come through the door, re­calls mem­ber Paddy Mcmillan.

Pres­i­dent Denny Evi­son says thanks to ex­cel­lent tu­tors many mem­bers are able to start from raw be­gin­nings and be­come quite pro­fi­cient.

‘‘We’ve got ex­cel­lent fa­cil­i­ties, there’s al­ways a very pos­i­tive at­mos­phere and we have a lot of fun.’’

Mem­bers are mostly from the Porirua and Tawa area, although some of their num­ber come from the Hutt Val­ley, Kapiti and Welling­ton.

Mem­ber Lois Herd­man, who took her first steps in paint­ing at Mana Arts So­ci­ety a few years ago, was even able to fund some of a re­cent trip in Australia’s north- west by sell­ing sketches at camp­grounds.

Mr Nicol says ex­hibit­ing at Pataka is ex­cit­ing for mem­bers and will con­sist of the ‘‘cream of the crop’’. ‘‘We as a club have to move with the times and pro­vide ac­tiv­i­ties which help be­gin­ners learn the nec­es­sary skills in a non-threat­en­ing en­vi­ron­ment, as well as give a wider base of artis­tic ac­tiv­ity, which is not limited to tra­di­tional oil or wa­ter­colour land­scapes.

‘‘The club is al­ways keen to meet peo­ple who feel they would like to give art a go but don’t have the con­fi­dence.’’

Colour­ful lot: Clock­wise from left, Paddy Mcmillan, Lois Herd­man, Stu­art Nicol and Denny Evi­son are work­ing hard to get Mana Arts So­ci­ety’s ex­hi­bi­tion ready.

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