Nelson art lovers have shown their support for the area’s popular gallery by raising $70,600 at an event.
A fundraiser for one of Nelson’s most popular galleries was successful, showing that the region’s passion for art is alive and well.
Suter Art Gallery‘s Midwinter Spectacular fundraising event raised an incredible $70,600, which “exceeded our expectations,” said Suter Art Gallery director Julie Catchpole.
“Which was really wonderful.”
The money raised is earmarked for the acquisition of permanent art for the gallery’s collection, which is constantly being expanded and expanded.
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Catchpole said the mantra of collecting artworks is that they are “locally relevant and nationally significant.”
“That means it has meaning for the people here or was created by an artist in the region or inspired by the region.”
She said a good example of permanent pieces the gallery owns are prolific New Zealand artists Bill Hammond and Rita Angus.
Hammond’s play All Along the Heaphy Highway, acquired by The Suter, will not only be displayed in the gallery, but will also be recreated on the pocket park wall by the Elma Turner Library.
“He’s a very important artist on the national stage, but this particular work has a history that’s very closely tied to that region.”
Angus’ The Apple Pickers is owned by The Suter and will be featured in a Rita Angus exhibition later this year, Catchpole said.
“This is an important work in her career and it also tells a story from this region. It has our skyline as a backdrop; and the group of people depicted in it, you can still find groups of people from around the world engaged in fruit picking.
“These are the kind of artworks that we can buy with a fundraiser like this.”
But she said how many pieces more than $70,000 would buy is unknown.
“It could buy one, or it could buy several.”
The support for the event held at Hopgoods Restaurant has been exceptional, she said.
“A big thank you to everyone who donated work and put their hands in their wallets. We had some incredibly generous donations to make the auction possible.”
In 2019 the gallery celebrated a milestone of 120 years.
Nelson artist and The Bishop Suter Trust Chairman Craig Potton is also a member of the Procurement Committee and procures art. He said there was a long “wish list” of art for which the money could be used.
While the installers funded the gallery, he said the actual art collection was funded by “people who care about art in Nelson.”
“Special art loving people in Nelson and beyond.”
The fundraising evening not only got people digging deep, but also brought out those who had art to offer to the gallery.
On the night of the fundraiser, punters were “very lively bidding for artworks and parcels,” Potton said, but even after the auction, a few works by Barraud, Gully and Woollaston were bidding and asked if The Suter would be interested in taking them.
He said gifted artworks made up a small part of the collection.
“The art world is a tremendously generous world.”
Artworks by renowned artists such as Karl Maughan, Michael Dell, Sir Grahame Sydney, Robin Slow and Joe Sheehan were auctioned off at the fundraiser, along with fine wines, designer bags and experience packages.
Guests dined on a specially curated menu created by top chef Kevin Hopgood and his team.
An artwork by Karl Maughan sold for $35,500.