Friends submission to the TDC Long Term Plan

Long Term Plan Consultation and Proposed Future Options for the 1978 and 1995 Extensions of the Aigantighe Gallery

To whom it may concern,

The Friends of the Aigantighe Art Gallery Committee members have been given the opportunity to review the proposed future options for the 1978 and 1995 extensions of the Aigantighe Gallery outlined in the Timaru District Councils 2021-31 Long Term Plan, which is currently in the public domain. We are very pleased to be able to confirm that we have received unanimous agreement from our committee in support of Option 1 - to construct a new facility on the current site which will foresee:

Demolition of the 1978 and 1998 extensions. Construction of a modern, purpose- built Art Gallery on the existing Wai-iti Road site. Links with the Heritage House Gallery and garden maintained. All current storage issues resolved and no need for off -site storage. Our Art Collection protected with temperature and humidity control. Greater ability to improve services with space for community ventures such as educational programmes and specialist exhibitions. Consequently, the latter would improve public amenities and office space.

The Friends of the Aigantighe now kindly request that the Timaru District Council consider our rationale for choosing Option 1. This year is a major landmark for the Friends of the Aigantighe, being 45 years since the association was inaugurated in July 1976. Consequently, the current Friends of the Aigantighe committee see 2021 as a time for change and innovation, our decision to support Option 1 has therefore been unanimously chosen because it will in our eyes usher in a new era of Art and Cultural significance and exchange in South Canterbury and beyond. The committee would also like to share with the members of the Timaru District Council additional reasons for our adoption/support of Option 1:

  • The perfect timing, now that the Heritage House Gallery Project has been approved by the Timaru District Council, the Friends of the Aigantighe can plan holistic fund-raising activities which will embrace the latter and the proposed extensions.
  • Option 1 will retain the Gallery’s strong linkage with the Sculpture Garden which is another integral part of the entire site and the identity of the Gallery.
  • Restricted exhibition space has been an ongoing issue for a protracted period of time. It has been apparent to the Friends of the Aigantighe that in many instances travelling art exhibitions of national significance, which have been• offered to our Gallery, have been rejected because of inadequate space and the inability to satisfy specific temperature and humidity controls required by outside agencies and institutions. Our Art Acquisition Sub-committee are committed to identifying and locating new art works planned to fill any existing gaps in the permanent collection. Consequently, it is disappointing to all concerned when there is little exhibition room in the Gallery to share our new acquisitions with the community and visitors to the region.
  • The lack of storage space has also been a matter of concern for many years and the cramped areas in which the Gallery team have been expected to work in a highly professional and ethical manner in preserving art for future generations is not acceptable in today’s business environment.
  • While discussing “future generations” it is perhaps timely to mention another reason for Option 1 that our members are passionate about and that is the extension of educational facilities. It is extremely difficult for the Gallery to run workshops for local schools given that just one class will involve up to 30 students.
  • The Committee has reviewed the concept plans drafted for Option 1 and we are confident the construction of a purpose- built Art Gallery on the existing site will meet the future needs of our community and will become an iconic destination in the region.

Our motivation, since the inception of the Friends of the Aigantighe in 1976, has always focused on supporting the Aigantighe Art Gallery to raise its national profile, thereby broadening and extending the cultural engagement of a wide range of audiences. We intend to maintain this focus in assisting with fund-raising programmes to celebrate the opening of the Heritage House Gallery and its integral link with the proposed new extensions.

Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to share our passions and visions for the future of the Aigantighe Art Gallery and to be able to confirm the unanimous acceptance by our committee of Option 1. We now strongly urge the Timaru District Council to support and progress Option 1 in a timely manner and to secure the future of the arts in South Canterbury for generations to come.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Friends of the Aigantighe Art Gallery Committee for any further comments.