Christchurch Art Gallery takes out Museums Aotearoa Award


Our building may be closed – but we've have still achieved national recognition of by winning a prestigious Museums Aotearoa Award.

The annual awards were held last night in Hamilton and the Gallery took out the Project Achievement Award Exhibition Excellence – Art category with the innovative Outer Spaces programme. The awards, which started in 2008, are open to individual or museum members of Museums Aotearoa and intended to encourage the improvement and development of museums and galleries.

Director Jenny Harper is pleased with the win, which shows the Gallery is operating at a high level nationally despite the challenges it has faced since the earthquakes.

'It is always good to get recognition - but there's something special about receiving awards from your peers. We have won a number of Museums Aotearoa Awards in the past and it is important to maintain our high standards as we continue bringing art to the people of Christchurch even though our building is closed.'

Other Museums Aotearoa Awards won by the Gallery have included a joint award last year for Art/Design Exhibition and the Selecon Award for Exhibition Excellence in 2010.

A more limited version of the Outer Spaces programme was being run on and around the Art Gallery site before the earthquakes, but it took on a new meaning and scale by moving into the city following the building's extended closure.

'Our aim was to launch art into what were truly "outer spaces" by our usual measures – shop fronts, vacant lots, empty windows and newly exposed transitional spaces in the post-quake cityscape,' Ms Harper says.

'With so much unsettlement in the city, our aim was simply to introduce some moments of colour, wonder and humour; to create some space for reflection and imagination.'

The Gallery's non-physical sites – its quarterly magazine and website – also took on new importance post-quake.

The Gallery is continuing to develop the Outer Spaces programme through the upcoming Populate! exhibition – being run to celebrate its 10th birthday in May. Money is currently being raised through the Arts Foundation's new national arts crowd funding website – www.boosted.org.nz – which will be used to ensure more temporary art works are made accessible for Populate!

People can make a tax deductable donation to bring more art to Christchurch at www.boosted.org.nz