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Media Releases
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Public Celebration of New Christchurch Art Gallery

6 May 2003

The Christchurch and Canterbury public will be guests of honour when the new Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu opens this Saturday.

The Gallery will be officially opened by the Prime Minister Helen Clark, heralding a weekend of celebrations that will include a performance by Dame Malvina Major and a fanfare written especially for the opening by leading New Zealand composer Gareth Farr.

The official opening programme, to be held in the Sculpture Garden at the Montreal Street frontage of the Gallery, will commence at 9:45am on Saturday morning with performances by the Christchurch Symphony. This will be followed by a Karakia and solo by Dame Malvina, before the Prime Minister officially declares the Gallery open at 10:30am. The public will then be invited to tour the Gallery or enjoy a variety of entertainment scheduled until 4pm.

On Sunday 11 May at 10am, a special welcoming service in honour of the new Gallery will be held for the public at the Christchurch Cathedral.

Gallery Director Tony Preston says it is extremely fitting that the Canterbury public, who raised more than $15.25 million for the new facility, will be first to tour the Gallery ’s exhibition spaces.

“ The new Gallery is a remarkable testament to the Canterbury community’s commitment to the arts, ” says Tony Preston.

“ We believe that the Gallery will more than meet their expectations and be a true reward for their extraordinary fundraising efforts. ”

Visitors to the Gallery will be able to enjoy a broad range of short and long-term exhibitions, including The Allure of Light: Turner to Cezanne – European Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Victoria, a selection of Romantic and Impressionist paintings, W.A. Sutton: A Retrospective, featuring over 100 works from one of Canterbury’s leading 20th Century artists, and Te Puawai o Ngai Tahu, recent works by 12 contemporary Ngai Tahu artists.

The new Gallery also gives scope for a major exhibition of the Permanent Collection, as well as a selection of Works on Paper, and a display of textiles, glass and ceramics in the Essential Forms exhibition.

Two other short-term exhibitions, Refugees and Antarctic Heart complete the works featured on the opening weekend in the facility’s nine galleries.

Christchurch Art Gallery Manager of Public Programmes Hubert Klaassens says he is very confident that the opening exhibitions will be well received by local and international visitors.

“ With 26 exhibitions and associated community programmes planned for the next 12 months, we believe the new Christchurch Art Gallery will become a major attraction for local and international visitors,” says Hubert Klaassens.

The new Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, cnr Worcester Boulevard and Montreal Street, Christchurch opens on Saturday May 10. The official celebration will commence at 9:30am, with the Gallery opened by the Prime Minister, Rt Hon Helen Clark at 10:30pm. All public are invited to attend.

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