Thursday, March 26, 2009


You certainly can’t say that Auckland art patrons are stingy. The word is that contributions for Venice (CNZ has asked the private sector to come up with $400,000) are on track which is a remarkable feat given the economic crisis. Jenny Gibbs (Heads of Patrons for the New Zealand presence at the Venice Biennale along with Dayle Mace) has been a tireless supporter of contemporary art. It is hard to imagine the visual arts in New Zealand being as vibrant without her consistent enthusiasm and ability to convince people to put dollars into ventures that much of the country still struggles with.

Now, in a textbook public private partnership, James Wallace has joined the Auckland City Council to transform Pah Homestead into a gallery for the James Wallace Trust collection and other projects. Just think, the next time Auckland Art Gallery can’t squeeze in something like the last Bill Hammond show, from what we have heard Pah House might easily be in a position to offer an alternate venue. Then there are the many other Aucklanders who strongly support the visual arts both in dollars and services. A couple of years ago John Key talked about promoting “a culture of generosity and giving.” He reiterated this promise at a philanthropy conference last week. Let’s hope his people are talking to our people.