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Local Art Finding Its Place In The Kiwi Psyche

NEWS RELEASE

14 June 2001

Local Art Finding Its Place In The Kiwi Psyche

For many people, the old masters will always be the ultimate in viewing art, but for a growing number of Aucklanders local artists are just fine thanks.

That appears to be the message according to the latest figures from the Auckland City Art Gallery, which has seen more than 214,000 people walk through its doors in the year to May - an increase of 125 per cent over the annual estimate.

Art Gallery Board chairperson, Councillor Gray Bartlett, says the recent impressive figures have been achieved featuring primarily local artists and exhibitions and they are a significant endorsement of the popularity of New Zealand artists.

“The success of the recent Marti Friedlander and Grahame Sydney exhibitions and the local content of the Bright Paradise exhibition suggests a growing maturity in New Zealanders’ appreciation of local artists,” said Councillor Bartlett.

“It’s heartening to see contemporary New Zealand exhibitions pulling in a growing number of new visitors, whom our research suggests may not have attended had there been a more traditional exhibition.

“There appears to be a growing realisation that - as in many walks of life - New Zealand artists are capable of producing outstanding contemporary art works that are striking a chord in our artistic nature.”

Councillor Bartlett said while Auckland City could take great pleasure in exposing New Zealand art and artists to a much greater number and a more diverse make-up of people attending the gallery, the city’s ability to do so was only possible because of the outstanding generosity of the gallery’s patrons and principal sponsors.

He said it was pleasing to recently hear a third party endorsement of the excellent spirit at the gallery and how this was being translated to a special experience for the visitor which had not previously been so evident.

Councillor Bartlett said the director had done an excellent job in managing the gallery and building a good team spirit, which had staff working positively and creatively towards bringing a diverse range of New Zealand art to the city.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

- Councillor Gray Bartlett, tel: 302 2070 or 025 959 936.


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