New art gallery prov­ing pop­u­lar

The Invercargill Eye - - WHAT’S ON - MARY WITSEY

A new Western South­land art gallery that’s been open for just seven months is off to a good start.

Otau­tau Gallery owner Pamela Hop­kins has been de­lighted at the com­mu­nity re­sponse and the in­ter­est from vis­i­tors.

Dozens of orig­i­nal art works have been sold since the lit­tle gallery, in­side the town’s former Methodist church, first opened in Septem­ber.

‘‘It’s ex­ceeded my ex­pec­ta­tions in th­ese early days. We’re more than pleased.

‘‘We’ve sold paint­ings to Australia and Amer­ica, but mainly it’s New Zealan­ders who are buy­ing.

‘‘Peo­ple have even come here to buy art that they’ve seen on our Face­book page.’’

Up to 14 groups had al­ready vis­ited, with some art groups ar­rang­ing to come at night en­joy­ing drinks, nib­bles and art. ‘‘We’re def­i­nitely bring­ing peo­ple into the town.’’

Sur­pris­ingly, the town had proved a great lo­ca­tion.

‘‘Otau­tau is well placed – you get a lot more traf­fic go­ing through than you’d think.

‘‘We want the gallery to be a des­ti­na­tion ... and grad­u­ally word is get­ting out.’’

En­joy­ing the new ven­ture, Hop­kins and her hus­band Robert McGowan said it was serendip­ity that had brought them here.

Although the cou­ple have lived in South­land for decades, Pamela found the old church on Trademe three years ago and they ren­o­vated it over time.

‘‘Now as a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion we have all this won­der­ful art and peo­ple also know that the church is be­ing taken care of.’’

McGowan agreed and said the gallery has a good vibe. ‘‘Peo­ple come here and say wow – this is great. It’s an Aladdin’s cave.’’

Hop­kins’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the art world, in­clud­ing man­ag­ing a Queen­stown gallery, has seen her at­tract an ar­ray of top-class South Is­land artists.

‘‘We’re get­ting re­ally good qual­ity artists from all around New Zealand.’’

MARY WITSEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Pamela Hop­kins’ new art gallery in­side an old church in Otau­tau is prov­ing pop­u­lar.

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