There has always been a community of artists practicing in the Bay of Plenty, however for a long time Tauranga was without a public art gallery.
The Tauranga Art Gallery is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month and staff and organisers will be reflecting on some of the gallery's highlights over the years.
As part of the celebration, organisers have produced a limited-edition publication called TEN, which gives a brief history of the gallery and also highlights 10 artworks from the Tauranga Art Gallery collection. There will also be artwork by Wellington-based artist and graphic designer Sarah Maxey, on sale at the gallery.
Director Karl Chitham says he feels privileged to have been director of the art gallery for two years, and is excited about what the future holds.
“My role has really been to build on the successes of the previous directors and to ensure that we continue to extend our reach to our growing community and visitors to the city,” he says.
“Our purpose is to create exceptional art experiences that engage, inspire, challenge and educate and I think we are doing just that.”
The gallery was officially opened on October 20, 2007 by Prime Minister Helen Clark to provide a space for artists to showcase their work to the Tauranga public.
Some of the exhibitions that stand out the most over the years are ‘Corrugations: The art of Jeff Thomson' and ‘Lynley Dodd: A Retrospective', which both spiralled the gallery's name nationwide, and most recently Yvonne Todd's 2016 exhibition, ‘Fictitious Bodies: Costume in Yvonne Todd's Photography'.
“Without a public art gallery, there was neither a repository for receiving works depicting our artistic heritage, nor were they included in the early texts about New Zealand's art history. Looking back, mapping the region's art history was a tall order, but a necessary one,” says past director Penelope Jackson in the TEN publication.