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.

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