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 firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in a Google Form here
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.