Support for separate gallery
Art supporters are rallying to back Palmerston North retaining a distinctive art gallery within the proposed Te Manawa 2025 redevelopment.
Plans for a total makeover of Te Manawa, worth up to $69 million, are part of the city council’s 10-year plan that is out for public consultation.
Te Manawa Arts Society member Stuart Schwartz said the most expensive option for the complex did not specify that the 40-year-old art gallery building would be demolished to make way for a grand new facility.
But there was no guarantee it would be kept, either.
‘‘It should remain with its own identity,’’ he said.
‘‘If they are thinking of destroying that, it would be a mistake.’’
Society president Raemon Rolfe said she looked forward to the Te Manawa redevelopment and opportunities to be part of staging interactive exhibitions on a new scale, getting more of the art collection on display.
‘‘We really support innovation and change and development.’’
She defended the art gallery building as a significant example of 1970s architecture and its role in housing, caring for and exhibiting a hugely significant collection of contemporary art.
‘‘We need to stand alone, with our own curator and people with expertise in looking after the collection.’’
Commercial gallery owner Bronwyn Zimmerman is encouraging people to make sure they tell the council what they want to happen with the art gallery.
The consultation document said no decision had been made about its future.
Zimmerman said the building was sound, with no earthquake strengthening required, and it should be retained.
Te Manawa chief executive Andy Lowe confirmed a decision about the building’s future was a long way off.
‘‘We will explore a number of different possibilities based on public consultation over the next few years,’’ he said.
‘‘Even if the existing building is replaced or incorporated into the redevelopment, it does not mean that the city will lose a stand-alone gallery space.
‘‘It simply means we have the ability to think bigger and have important conversations around the future of art and culture in our community.’’
Meantime, Te Manawa had scheduled significant works on the building, which will see it closed for up to 10 months from July.