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New initiatives to support decorative arts, design

The Blumhardt Foundation Media Release 18 September 2006

New initiatives announced to support decorative arts and design.

The Blumhardt Foundation will host a panel discussion of leading artists tomorrow (Tuesday 19 September, 5.30pm, The Auditorium, National Library, Molesworth, Wellington). The Foundation will also announce new initiatives to foster the development of decorative arts and design in New Zealand.

Dr Doreen Blumhardt, the inspirational teacher, writer, and ceramicist whose personal collection forms the basis of the Foundation, will attend the event. Dr Blumhardt is aged 92 and still works at her Northland studio.

As well, guests will enjoy a preview of the first exhibition at the Blumhardt Gallery, opening in February 2007 at the remodelled Dowse art museum in Lower Hutt. The Blumhardt Gallery will be New Zealand’s premier venue for applied arts – including ceramics, design, embroidery, furniture, jewellery, wood and metal work, and textiles.

Since its formation in 2004, the Foundation has formed partnerships with Creative New Zealand (to establish a curatorial internship at the Blumhardt Gallery) and the National Library (to set up the Blumhardt Collection of papers, letters, books and oral history relating to decorative art and design).

‘These are the first of many initiatives. The Foundation is committed to supporting the applied arts in an active and current way. Tomorrow we will be looking at where the Foundation will sit in the New Zealand art landscape – and its significance. We will also be launching our fundraising objectives,’ Foundation chair, Dennis McKinlay, said.

The Foundation hopes to attract other patrons of the applied arts, and it will seek donations of works of decorative and applied arts and related archives. It plans to build up a national collection of works, to be held primarily at The Dowse, but elsewhere as well.

The Foundation is keen to continue Dr Blumhardt’s teaching initiatives and to put in place educational programmes for young artists, as well as to support mature artists with master classes and by bringing leading overseas practitioners to New Zealand.

‘Doreen has been a key figure in the development of decorative arts and design in New Zealand. Our successful ceramicists, our film industry designers, our wearable arts, our internationally acclaimed wood and glass art – these are a fantastic base from which to confirm and enhance our place at home and in the international arena,’ Mr McKinlay said.


The Dowse
45 Laings Road
PO Box 30 396
Lower Hutt


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