Topic: Growing Tauranga's Art Market

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Well ... yes ... we have an art market but a fledgling one and one that could and needs to grow. Like many sectors our artists and dealer galleries are finding the present economic realities difficult.

Looking wrong. Archived version here. 

In addition to this Tauranga is a relatively young city with a small population.

Although we have many keen hardworking supporters of the visual arts we still can't accurately be described as a fantastically vibrant art destination at this point in time.

Making Tauranga an art rich city where an art market is a player and contributing even more to the economic well-being of the city is a work in progress.

Owen Dippie's Ashworth Lane gallery and studio

What is needed is a cooperative approach by the dealer galleries to create an art market in Tauranga.

I have already seen encouraging instances of this and applaud those who are proving to be open minded and progressive in their thinking.

The out-moded model of galleries competing with each other and jealously guarding a 'stable' of artists may not be the best approach in a small city.

To me this 'tribal' thinking is counter-productive to the growth of art and to the growth of an art market in Tauranga.

This model works for dealers like Peter McLeavy in Wellington who represents artists who make artworks that are sometimes sold for tens of thousands of dollars. The same applies to a large population centre like Auckland.

The Creative Tauranga Community Gallery, whose job it is to support emerging artists, is generally in line with the support ideal while occupying a unique place in a commercial sense. Like all galleries and gallery owners who know the complexities of dealing with 'creative personalities', exhibition timetables and deadlines Creative Tauranga Community Gallery has given us some very good exhibitions at times and has an important role to play in the 'growing' of the visual arts in our city. I'd like to write more about Creative Tauranga's contribution in future blogs and columns.

Tauranga Art Gallery, not to be confused with our dealer galleries, has much to do with regard to reaching out to a wider audience and I have communicated this and made suggestions to the people in charge. Raising issues and making constructive suggestions is the sort of thing any interested person can do and I'm sure our public gallery welcomes it.

Ken and Karen Wright's popular Lightwave Gallery

One very successful local artist I know exhibits in most local galleries and in galleries further afield.

The artist I'm writing about could be uncomfortable about being held up as an example so I won't use a name.

This artist has highly professional relationships with those galleries and most importantly the lines of good communication are always open and clear.

The artist produces work of consistent exceptional quality and sells well in all the galleries proving that exhibiting work in different galleries benefits everybody.

I'm hoping that all the dealer galleries will give the cooperative and support approach a try. 'All' being the operative word.

I saw a great example of this recently where the Zeus Gallery on Tauranga's 11th Avenue had a Lightwave Gallery flyer displayed.

Open communication is key and problems arise when it doesn't happen.

Working together will benefit the artists, who produce the art, the galleries and those who buy art for their homes and businesses.

BTW ... it would be great to see even more people writing about the visual arts in Tauranga providing a stimulus for the very necessary art conversation a new progressive growing city needs.

In this way the visual arts and an art market that contributes even more to the city's economy than it does already has a chance of flourishing.

by Pete Morris (March 2013).

Pete Morris is an occasional painter and an art lover. He is a freelance writer with a particular interest in promoting the visual arts in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.



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