Community gallery opens in Leeston
A group of Ellesmere artists and art aficionados have opened a new community art gallery in Leeston.
Lakeland Art now fills the former Ellesmere Drapery building on the town’s main street, and will be home to a range of artwork as well as being a venue for art lessons.
Lakeland Art chairman Brian de Lore said about 120 people attended the official opening on Friday evening before the gallery was opened to the public on Saturday.
‘‘We’ve started off well with some good sales. It was a very successful night.’’
After the formation of a nineperson committee some months ago, Lakeland Art received a $20,000 start-up grant from the Selwyn District Council. They soon secured the building’s lease.
De Lore said members worked hard to get the gallery up and running within a relatively short time period.
‘‘We moved fairly quickly. The space became available, and the building was perfect for us.
‘‘Our next step is to get some partitions made so we can really utilise all this space.’’
The group also needs to raise money to secure specialist lighting for the gallery. Selwyn business Central Plains Electric had already installed some spotlighting, he said.
De Lore said planning was under way for an art week later in the year.
‘‘This is a happening little town. It’s a growing population and we know there’s a lot of artists in the area who don’t have a home [for their art].’’
There are 70 art students at Ellesmere College alone with no art or cultural centre to attend post-school other than the Leeston Library, and de Lore hoped the new gallery would inspire them to continue their art.
Lakeland Art will display and sell art by its members but also have a monthly rotating exhibition by a guest artist as well as conducting art tuition for both young and senior students and still have space for a working artist.
The group has about 35 members, but soon hopes to double those numbers. Full membership costs $50 per year while friends of the gallery pay $10. Membership forms are available at the gallery.
Lakeland Art, 80 High St in Leeston, will be open from 10am to 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday.
Lakeland Art in Leeston opened its doors on May 19.