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Art Gallery visitor numbers on target for 2006-07

Media Release November 2006

Art Gallery visitor numbers on target for 2006-07 financial year

More than 114,000 people have visited the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu during the first four months of the 2006-07 financial year.

Christchurch City Council Community Services General Manager Stephen McArthur said it was pleasing to see visitor numbers were tracking well for the current financial year, there having been good growth in visitor numbers during the last few months.

“At 114, 387, visitor numbers for the first four months of the year are only 97 behind target and tracking well.”

The Gallery ended the 2005-06 financial year with 288,293 visitors, 0.28 per cent down on the previous year’s 289,097.

Mr McArthur said he acknowledged it would be a challenge for the Gallery to achieve a visitor count of 350,000 in the 2006-07 year, but he was confident it was an achievable result with the work that had been done to create a new exhibition programme and visitor experience.

“Strong visitor numbers in the last four months have already shown the Gallery is better connecting with its loyal arts community and new and enlarged audiences,” he said.

“Through the Paradigm Shift, a new leadership team, processes and procedures, there are some extremely exciting times ahead for the Gallery as it forges a new identity and works to realise its vision of the Cultural Precinct and Worcester Boulevard becoming the most visited cultural site in New Zealand.”

Mr McArthur said the Gallery’s Summer 2006-07 schedule was beginning to be rolled out and was proving very popular.

“The A & P Show – Art Goes Country has been a real hit, attracting a wide and varied audience of new visitors. Gregor Kregar’s Matthew 12:12 live sheep installation created much interest last weekend.

“This show continues to 3 December and as most New Zealanders have a rural connection and have been to an A & P Show as a child, the exhibition brings back many special memories.”

He said Giacometti, which opened last Friday, is a hauntingly beautiful exhibition of work by one of the most inventive and original sculptors of 20th century art.

“Renowned for his strikingly emaciated figures, Giacometti captured the complexity of the human condition in the 20th century through his work. This is an amazing show and we are incredibly fortunate to have it showing exclusively in New Zealand at our art gallery.

“I hope every Christchurch resident makes time to go to the Gallery and see these beautiful masterpieces. It is the first time Giacometti’s art has ever been exhibited in the Southern Hemisphere and this is arguably the most important exhibition of 20th century sculpture to be seen in New Zealand. The more successful shows like this are, the more international art we will be able to attract to the Gallery.”

Mr McArthur said Out of Erewhon, which opens this Friday (24 November), is a celebration of the strengthen and breadth of the practice of new and emerging visual artists in Canterbury, and adds an exciting dimension to what is currently on display at the Gallery.

“Christchurch residents will also be treated to a remarkable exhibition of work by Frances Hodgkins (from 8 December) and photographs by renowned landscape photographer Craig Potton (from 15 December) to complete what is guaranteed to be a challenging and stimulating summer schedule.”

ENDS

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