4 November 2016

Govt grant for arts centre

It’s not often Eastern Southland Arts and Heritage Curator Jim Geddes is left speechless.

He was today though when an $110,000 Government grant for the East Gore Arts Centre was announced during a visit by Attorney General Hon Chris Finlayson. The Minister made the announcement on behalf of Arts, Culture & Heritage Minister Maggie Barry. 

The grant will enable the fit out of the newly named Muka Studio Wing at the arts centre, thus safeguarding the future of the historic Muka Studio press it houses. The press was gifted to the Eastern Southland Gallery by Muka Studio founders Frans Baetens and Magda van Gils. It takes centre stage at the arts centre, which also includes a storage and preparation area for the heavy lithographic stones the press uses, a history of Muka and an exhibition space.

Used to produce works by Toulouse Lautrec and Pablo Picasso, the giant 19th century lithographic press is one of only three in the world still operational.

Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks congratulated Mr Geddes on his vision in creating an environment where local and national treasures will be housed for the benefit of artists and the public.

“You can't put a value on Jim’s contribution to our community.”

There would be few places in rural New Zealand, or even metropolitan areas, that can boast the arts and heritage facilities we have in Gore, Mr Hicks said.

“What we have is unique and one of the main reasons we are tourist destination.”

Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay, a strong advocate of the project, said the addition of the arts centre will strengthen the Gallery’s national and international standing and offer huge potential to extend its reach.

“This is a significant project not only for Southland, but also for New Zealand’s wider artistic community which has had a long and positive association with the Muka Studio’s printing press.

“I congratulate everyone involved in helping to support the arts centre project. Together with the Gallery, it will provide a boost to the region’s economy and enhance what is already a very significant art facility,” Mr Barclay said.

The grant is the third to be awarded in the inaugural round of the Government’s Regional Culture and Heritage Fund.

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: