A spectacular, sell-out gala dinner event on Saturday night has helped Christchurch Art Gallery raise more than $80,000 towards purchasing a special work of art for the city.
The $375-a-seat, black-tie fundraising dinner and auction saw 250 guests from around the country wine, dine and bid for everything from a three-metre-tall gnome to an exclusive helicopter winery tour.
Last year the Gallery successfully purchased Michael Parekowhai's bronze bull atop the piano Chapman's Homer. Now it will add Bill Culbert's Bebop to Christchurch's collection, a 15-metre-long, ceiling-hung light installation by one of New Zealand's most celebrated contemporary artists.
Culbert himself travelled from the south of France to provide the creative inspiration for the evening, while British chef super-couple Fergus and Margot Henderson were flown in directly by event partner Singapore Airlines to serve up five courses of locally inspired fare.
Christchurch Art Gallery director Jenny Harper says the event was a resounding success.
'Bill Culbert's Bebop is a wonderful addition to Christchurch's collection and, together with Chapman's Homer, represents the second of five great works of art we aim to purchase for the city over the next five years,' she says.
'We're also setting our sights on achieving $5 million for a special endowment fund within five years, the interest from which will allow us to steadily grow the collection into the future.'
Gallery visitors will get their first chance to see Culbert's Bebop, which featured at the 2013 Venice Biennale, when its doors reopen to the public in late 2015 for the celebratory LIFT exhibition.
In the meantime, the Gallery is offering art lovers the opportunity to get on board and show their support for the collection.
'We're asking people to partner with us financially, to help us build a collection of works which treasures this time, our memories, our stories, and which expresses our hope for the city's future,' she says.
'In return, we're offering exclusive and exciting opportunities to engage with our programme of exhibitions, artists and other special Gallery events.'
'We know that good art really matters for Christchurch, and we want everyone who believes that to join with us on the road to our triumphal reopening next year — and beyond.'