Nelson city ratepayer money will go towards buying a painting.
The Nelson City Council will contribute $5000 towards a fundraising campaign to secure the Rita Angus painting, The Apple Pickers.
The council said it did not normally provide additional funding for acquisitions but the value of the painting to the Suter collection, and the rare opportunity to acquire it, convinced it to make an exemption.
Mayor Rachel Reese announced the council's support at the formal launch of the Suter Art Gallery's Rita Angus The Apple Pickers' Public Appeal yesterday.
Reese said the painting would be a true asset for Nelson.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Nelson to become home to an artwork of huge significance, particularly one so representative of our region's heritage, creativity and identity. The Apple Pickers captures a moment of time in Nelson's story."
The Suter had identified within its collections policy, agreed in 2007, that a work by Rita Angus was its top priority for acquisition - preferably one that would reflect her strong and creative connection to Nelson. However, major works of Rita Angus were rarely available for purchase and until now, a seven-year search by the Suter had been unsuccessful.
Although a public gallery in Australia had already expressed interest, the Rita Angus Estate has given the Suter "first option" to buy The Apple Pickers.
The Suter has until mid-November to raise the remainder of the $245,000 total required to secure the painting and has established a dedicated fundraising team. Two bequests to the Suter, dedicated to art collection development and care, have raised $85,000, leaving $160,000 to raise.
Reese said The Apple Pickers was "a painting of Nelson for Nelson", a work which could be enjoyed by all.
"This painting represents our region's rich heritage but it is also part of our future. Our reputation as a centre for the arts is multi-faceted, a key part of which is the quality of our galleries, public art and local art collections.
"This is the rarest of opportunities. I strongly encourage Nelsonians and art lovers throughout the country to do all we can to keep this work in New Zealand and to secure The Apple Pickers for Nelson - the painting's natural home is here."
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