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Art Gallery to be redeveloped as part of civic precinct project

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Tauranga Art Gallery Trust Chair Rosemary Protheroe has announced that the gallery is to be redeveloped as part of Tauranga’s future civic precinct, Te Manawataki o Te Papa. In time, this will contribute to the full richness and diversity of Tauranga arts, culture and heritage which will be able to be experienced on completion of the civic precinct.

Set to begin later this year, the redevelopment will see the orientation of the art gallery turn to face Masonic Park with a new entrance that will blur the boundaries between inside and out. It will create a more welcoming environment alongside a new café and expanded retail experience.

Tauranga Art Gallery Director Sonya Korohina says “how our artists exhibit and community connects with art has changed.

“This redevelopment is an exciting opportunity to take us into the future as both a great space to experience art programmes and a more social space too.”

Sonya says the interior layout will largely remain the same, with the education room moving to the Wharf and Willow Street side, creating a separate entrance for the popular schools and art studio programmes.

“Many local children grow up coming through the art gallery’s education programmes.

“Today’s youth are already experts in visual culture. The creative tools they learn here hones their skills as young critical thinkers, innovators, and empathetic humans.”

To ensure the education programme is not interrupted by the build, a temporary pop-up space at 42-44 Devonport will open mid-July at the start of term 3.

The Pop-Up will include an exhibition and a multi-purpose events and education space. The Art Bus will bring children to visit, as well as Tauranga Library across the road. It will remain open until the main building project is complete.

While closed, the art gallery will take the opportunity to upgrade lighting, air-conditioning and an interior fit-out. This will enable it to maintain international museum standards, a requirement to be able to loan artworks from institutions such as Te Papa. This will be the first time work has been undertaken since opening in 2007.

Tauranga City Council General Manager: City Development and Partnerships Gareth Wallis says the upgrade of the art gallery signals another step forward to breathing life back into our city’s heart through what is expected to be one of the biggest investments our city will see, and a key cultural, heritage and economic driver for the region.

“As one of the first projects underway within the civic precinct, it’s fitting that the art gallery – which has held such a special place in our city centre for nearly two decades – will cement a home for art,” says Gareth.

“The developments for the art gallery have been planned to coincide with the upgrade of the neighbouring Masonic Park, that will see the park transformed into a place where people can stop by and dine and relax or go between Te Awanui Tauranga Harbour and the civic precinct.”

A total project budget of $3.38 million was approved by Council in March and is being jointly funded by Tauranga City Council and Tauranga Art Gallery Foundation.

Foundation Chair Phillida Perry says “the Tauranga Art Gallery Foundation has been established to enable the long-term advancement of the gallery and is pleased to support the redevelopment, contributing to enriched art experiences for future generations”.

Further funds needed for costs associated with development and fit-out will be raised by Tauranga Art Gallery Trust and the Tauranga Art Gallery Foundation.

For more information about Tauranga City Council’s plans for the civic precinct, head to http://www.tauranga.govt.nz/ourfuturecitycentre

Related: New Tauranga Art Gallery Trust and Tourism Bay of Plenty board trustees appointed

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