Aigantighe Art Gallery is a public art gallery that collects, exhibits, preserves, researches and educates about visual art. Its rich and growing permanent art collection is shown in the original House Gallery through revolving exhibitions, while temporary exhibitions of non-collection artworks are held in the 1978 extension.

The Aigantighe is regarded as the regional art gallery of South Canterbury due to its focus on regional art both in the permanent collection and in temporary exhibition programme.  The majority of the collection has been donated to the Timaru community.

The Aigantighe Art Gallery is zoned Recreation 2 and the land use is Established. It is comprised of two adjoined large buildings: the House Gallery (an Historic Places Trust Category B listed home built in 1908) gifted to Timaru in 1955 as a public art gallery and a 1978 wing with an office and small art store added in 1990.  The Art Gallery’s surrounding grounds features a permanent sculpture garden.

The Art Gallery is open six days a week and the sculpture garden is always open to the public. As a public art gallery it operates on behalf of all visitors and is funded by the Timaru District Council, managed under the Community Services Group. The House Gallery and permanent collection have been gifted to the Council and are held by it on behalf of residents. The 1978 wing, the 1990 office and art stores are Council-owned.

The Art Gallery is free to visit and is a much appreciated community meeting place as well as a tourist attraction. It performs functions that contribute to the social and cultural wellbeing of the wider district. It enjoys strong community involvement, especially evidenced through its high rate of donated art works. The exhibition and education programmes encourage and achieve participation from a broad cross-section of the population. The Friends of the Aigantighe Art Gallery, a voluntary organisation and registered charity, is an active group with the primary aim of supporting the gallery.

The Aigantighe provides a significant public profile for Timaru and it is positively reported in the local and national media. The Art Gallery is covered generously in guidebooks to New Zealand and cited as one of the main reasons to visit Timaru, which raises the District’s profile and contributes to cultural tourism and economic development.

The education programme targets South Canterbury students of all ages, as well as adults. The Art Gallery also provides research assistance and an information service for members of the public enquiring about artists and artworks.

1.0 Purpose
The Aigantighe Art Gallery Collection Policy provides a set of principles for the responsible stewardship and sharing though public access and use of collection art works held at Aigantighe Art Gallery. This Policy is supported by comprehensive operational guidelines, procedures and standards, such as the Museums Aotearoa Code of practice and is updated when necessary.

2.0 Background
Aigantighe is the name of the historic house that became the foundation of the Art Gallery in 1956. It was built in 1908 as the retirement home of Alexander Grant (1832 – 1921) and Helen Grant (1854 – 1955), who emigrated from Scotland and farmed Gray’s Hill Station in the Mackenzie Country. It was the wish of Mrs Grant that the Aigantighe became an art gallery for the general public. She lived in Aigantighe until her death in 1955. Her wishes were followed with the Aigantighe and surrounding grounds donated to the people of Timaru in 1955.

Aigantighe Art Gallery is the result of these 3 gifts which were given to the Timaru District Council. Aigantighe opened to the pubic in August 1956 with a collection of 80 works which comprised of the two art donations - the first from the Grant family and the second from the South Canterbury Arts Society.

Since that time the collection and gallery has grown exponentially with the Edwardian house displaying work from the permanent collection.

There are over 1500 pieces in the collection with around 10% of this collection on display at any one time.

Much of the collection was gifted either by direct donation or as a monetary bequest.

The rest of the collection includes a variety of works celebrating Victorian and Edwardian art works, Japanese prints, European prints, Australian art, Chinese art, Sculptures, Antique china and more.

The aim is to achieve a unified and balanced overall collection.

Background and context to the policy
The acquisition of works of art is central to an art museum function.
The Gallery will collect works of art which exemplify excellence, and / or are of historical and / or artistic significance to the Timaru District and wider Canterbury region and where appropriate (to strengthen existing parts of) to its collection art works by significant national and international artists.
The gallery will consider acquisitions of works of art by gift, bequest, purchase, transfer or exchange.
The relationship between cultural activities and education, employment, and economic development is well recognised by Central and Local Government policy. The presence of a respected Art Gallery institution contributes to local identity, pride of place, and social cohesion. It acts as a focal point for the artistic life of the district, celebrates the diversity of local communities, and provides a quality learning and leisure activity. It is a strong feature of the District and helps to attract new residents to the region along with tourists.


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