Celebrating 5 Years: The Little Gallery
- 7 June 2018
- Sarah Holden
This month we’re celebrating five years of The Little Gallery!! We’re extremely proud of how far we’ve come and the reputation we’ve developed over the years as a must-see destination gallery in the Coromandel.
We’re also ever-grateful for the support of our artists and volunteers, many of whom have been with us since the very beginning. Without their efforts The Little Gallery would not have been able to build its unique character it is known for today. We pride ourselves on being a professional yet intimate art gallery, and our visitors love that they are able to meet many of our local Coromandel artists who work with us.
To celebrate our five year anniversary we thought we would revisit our highlights and share with you some of our most memorable stories!
The Little Gallery Tairua, 2015
One of our most successful exhibitions to date, ‘The Collector’s Collection’ held in Spring 2014 set the standard of how we envisaged our future exhibition programmes to be run. Our artists presented an impressive, diverse body of paintings, prints and sculptures, from which notable New Zealand art collector and dealer Warwick Henderson hand-picked his top selections. From this exhibition we were able to re-launch our profile as a leading contemporary Coromandel art gallery showcasing a fresh, exciting range of high-calibre artwork by local artists!
In the first couple of years we were focused on fine-tuning our back-office systems, as well as shaping our identity as a modern art gallery. We developed our co-operative model with many of our exhibiting artists volunteering to manage the gallery, allowing our visitors from near and far to meet local artists and have meaningful conversations about our artworks and exhibitions. It was important to us (and still is!) that we developed a strong relationship with our local community, and through establishing an engaging public programme including regular artist talks and demonstrations, we were able to grow our relationships with local artists, art lovers and members of the community.
The Little Gallery Tairua Team
We are extremely proud to be based in the beautiful Coromandel – with its stunning natural environment and close-knit communities, the region undoubtedly asserts an influence on the work of many of our artists too. Every few years we host a charity event to give back to our community, and in July 2016 we held a silent art auction for the Whenuakite Kiwi Care Group, who work to protect the Coromandel brown kiwi and its habitat across the Coromandel Peninsula. Over 30 artworks were generously donated by our artists, and we were pleased to raise $4000 in the auction to protect our treasured national bird.
Four years in, we felt our Little Gallery in Tairua was bursting to expand and we found the perfect location on Port Road, Whangamata to open a second branch! Over six new local artists were thrilled to join our team to help manage the new gallery, and we were excited to see how their diverse practices added to our exhibitions and personality. We had a short period of time to renovate and set up the space including new carpet, fresh paint, and installing lighting systems and signage, and our doors opened for the first time on 1 November 2017. Our official Grand Opening night held in December was a delightful success and it was fantastic to see the gallery be so well-received by the Whangamata community.
What better way to celebrate the opening of our second branch than to host a joint exhibition? We were excited to organise our very first ‘travelling’ art exhibition, ‘35km Road Trip’ in April this year. Each gallery in Tairua and Whangamata presented 35 new artworks, commemorating the distance between our two branches, and visitors were encouraged to take a ‘road trip’ to the other gallery. Our Whangamata gallery cemented its reputation as a must-see cultural attraction in the area and we were proud of how our new team took to the challenge of putting together the exhibition!
Joanne Mahoney, artist and volunteer at The Little Gallery Whangamata says, ‘since Sarah’s ownership I have watched the gallery go from strength to strength – she needs to be commended for the interesting exhibitions that are held….I have really enjoyed my time in both galleries.’
Artist Kate Hill adds, ‘I have been involved with The Little Gallery in its various formats for at least 15 years as an artist, part-time resident of Tairua, and volunteer... I have watched the gallery’s reputation expand over the years and especially since Sarah has developed her model which is a perfect fit for Tairua. I must also pay tribute to gallery curator Paula McNeill, who works tirelessly to ensure that the gallery is always looking fresh and inviting.’
Over the years we’ve been able to grow our reputation and we’re pleased to hear that The Little Gallery is talked about in all corners of New Zealand. We believe our gallery offers a unique experience found nowhere else - our Coromandel connection and the passion and talent of our artists is what truly makes us special. We love seeing the joy our artworks bring to our visitors, and the connections that are formed between a person and a work of art. Thank you for your ongoing support of The Little Gallery and our local artists!
We are always evolving and always looking for ways we can continue to provide our visitors with a memorable, engaging art experience. Do you have a story to share with us? Let us know here!
Enjoyed this article? Sign up to our newsletter below and be the first to hear about our latest Art Chat posts!