Com­mu­nity gallery opens in Lee­ston

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HE­LENA O'NEILL

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.

BRIAN DE LORE

Lake­land Art in Lee­ston opened its doors on May 19.

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