Col­lect­ing a hall’s worth of mem­o­ries


The old walls of Lower Hutt’s Hor­ti­cul­tural Hall hold a lot of mem­o­ries and one artist wants to turn them into art.

Eve Arm­strong will be sit­ting at a desk in the Dowse Art Mu­seum foyer, ready to lis­ten to peo­ple’s sto­ries about the hall. She has an open in­vi­ta­tion for any­one to drop by to tell her what they re­mem­ber of the hall.

‘‘I’m try­ing to catch all the mem­o­ries of what hap­pened in that space,’’ she said.

From 1959 to 2014, the hall hosted an ar­ray of events from grand civic balls to sports prac­tices un­til it was de­mol­ished to make way for a con­fer­ence cen­tre.

Arm­strong’s plan to cre­ate art project Col­lec­tive Pur­suits out of Hor­ti­cul­tural Hall mem­o­ries has been float­ing around for the last five years or so.

The artist grew up in Lower Hutt, at­tend­ing Chilton St James and has her own mem­o­ries of sit­ting in the hall for school events. But her main con­nec­tion to the hall comes through her nana.

‘‘For me the hall has al­ways been a space that was loved a lot in my mem­o­ries. I have been to some events, I have imag­ined events there from my nana.’’

‘‘She be­longed to a flo­ral art group and would at­tend the Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety’s shows. It’s more of­ten her sto­ries of go­ing to the shows that I re­mem­ber.’’

She was also in­spired to start the project by the sorts of events she found had been hosted in the hall, from min­eral con­ven­tions to cus­tom van shows and wanted to chart how the use of the hall had changed over the years.

She was in­ter­ested in gath­er­ing de­tails on per­sonal events as well, such as wed­dings.

Once she col­lected the sto­ries she planned an ex­hi­bi­tion, set to open at the Dowse in 2018, us­ing pho­to­graphs and sculp­tures to tell a vis­ual his­tory of the hall.

Some sto­ries have al­ready come through to her, through an on­line Google form and an email ad­dress she set up.

To add your own mem­o­ries to

drop in to the Dowse from Novem­ber 11 - 22 be­tween 10am to 5pm, email hor­ti­ or fill in a Google Form here

Col­lec­tive Pur­suits,

The hall was opened in 1959 and over 55 years, hosted a range of ac­tiv­i­ties, from school dis­cos to cus­tom van shows. Above, artist Eve Arm­strong.

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