Mana Arts clocks up 30 bold years

BY KRIS DANDO
Last updated 15:40 27/03/2012
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COLOURFUL LOT: Clockwise from left, Paddy McMillan, Lois Herdman, Stuart Nicol and Denny Evison are working hard to get Mana Arts Society's exhibition ready.

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In 1996 Edna Bulleyment and Paddy McMillan were made Mana Arts Society's first life members - the latter shakes her head as she wonders where the time has gone.

The Society celebrates its 30th year with an exhibition at Pataka's Bottle Creek Gallery, beginning Thursday. Ninety-six paintings from most of their 78 members will be displayed, showing a number of styles, from watercolours to oils to mixed media. All will be for sale.

"I think the public will see that we're a diverse lot and we have got a lot bolder over the years," member Stuart Nicol says. "There's a lot that we do and our little society is going really, really well."

Mana Arts Society has clubrooms next to Plimmerton Domain, home to workshops, life drawing and sketching groups and scrapbooking and children's classes. New members are always welcome, Mr Nicol says.

The inaugural meeting in 1982 saw just 10 "hesitant" art lovers come through the door, recalls member Paddy McMillan.

President Denny Evison says thanks to excellent tutors many members are able to start from raw beginnings and become quite proficient.

"We've got excellent facilities, there's always a very positive atmosphere and we have a lot of fun."

Members are mostly from the Porirua and Tawa area, although some of their number come from the Hutt Valley, Kapiti and Wellington.

Member Lois Herdman, who took her first steps in painting at Mana Arts Society a few years ago, was even able to fund some of a recent trip in Australia's north-west by selling sketches at campgrounds.

Mr Nicol says exhibiting at Pataka is exciting for members and will consist of the "cream of the crop". "We as a club have to move with the times and provide activities which help beginners learn the necessary skills in a non-threatening environment, as well as give a wider base of artistic activity, which is not limited to traditional oil or watercolour landscapes.

"The club is always keen to meet people who feel they would like to give art a go but don't have the confidence."

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