The Aigantighe Art Gallery

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.