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NZ contemporary art honoured by Arts Foundation

Govett-Brewster’s unequalled commitment to NZ contemporary art honoured by Arts Foundation

The unequalled commitment of New Plymouth’s Govett-Brewster Art Gallery to New Zealand contemporary art was honoured yesterday (20 July) by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand with their prestigious Governor’s Award. Presented in an event at Christchurch Art Gallery this award recognises individuals or institutions that have contributed in a significant way to the development of the arts and artists in New Zealand. The Govett-Brewster is only the third recipient in the award’s history.

In presenting the award the Arts Foundation Governors acknowledged the commitment by the Govett-Brewster to the cause of contemporary art, particularly from New Zealand.

“The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery has set a benchmark for commitment to the ‘new’ that no other gallery in New Zealand has been able to equal. The Gallery has unswervingly followed a path of presenting leading edge contemporary art and a succession of able directors has brought to New Plymouth a programme that one might more readily have expected in one of New Zealand’s larger cities”.

The Governors also signalled admiration for the civic leadership and public of New Plymouth.

“The city’s steadfast support of the Gallery and art in the community, including Len Lye’s Wind Wand, demonstrates an appreciation of the importance of contemporary art, which belies the size of the city and its regional location.”

Current Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says, “the Gallery is deeply honoured by the recognition of its courageous contributions to the cultural landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand over the past four decades.

“The passionate faith that our past and present directors, staff and supporters hold in the power of contemporary art has never wavered. Art is at the essence of what it is to be human, and it’s wonderful that this belief has been so resoundingly acknowledged by our audiences over many years and now in such a generous way by the Arts Foundation.”

Established through a bequest and Trust Deed from the forward thinking New Plymouth resident Monica Brewster, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery has become a contemporary art museum recognised internationally for its global vision and special commitment the art of New Zealand, Asia and the Pacific.

The Gallery maintains its own contemporary art collection and the collection of modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye in addition to presenting a dynamic exhibitions and events programme.

Considered a pathfinder in this country’s cultural landscape, the Govett-Brewster works to develop new possibilities for artists and audiences within contemporary culture.

As the Govett-Brewster moves towards its 40th anniversary in 2010, it is launching a vigorous programme including offering its collection online, a new website, celebrating its history in a major publication and undertaking an ambitious series of exhibitions, acquisitions and events.

The Governors Award is selected by the Arts Foundation Governors. Two previous awards have been made. The inaugural recipient was the University of Otago - in recognition of its significant contribution to the arts community since 1958 through its Burns, Hodgkins and Mozart Fellowships. The second presentation was made to Concert FM (now Radio New Zealand Concert) for the significant contribution made by the organisation in supporting, encouraging and promoting New Zealand composers, musicians, writers and actors at a national level.


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