Nelson's Suter Art Gallery finally reopens
The region's art lovers came out in droves to celebrate Nelson's Suter Art Gallery reopening to the public after a two year $12 million refurbishment.
About 2000 people flowed through the art gallery to take in the modern architecture and restored history of the building.
Suter Gallery director Julie Catchpole said the opening was a great success.
"It was a lot of fun and we were really really lucky with the weather. We couldn't have been more pleased."
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Catchpole said all the reactions on the new and improved gallery were positive.
"Lots of Nelsonians feeling really proud of this facility and the most frequent remarks were that this feels like a gallery that could be in any big city anywhere around the world.
"I think that's quite remarkable."
To celebrate the opening there were a number of treats on offer for the public - including face painting for children, entertainment and prizes for those dressed as an artist.
Boat rides in a clinker dingy were also offered on the pond.
Suter Art Gallery staff member Julia Warren said several hundred copies of the Suter Art Gallery book People, Places, Perspective - Art works from the collection were sold during the opening on Sunday.
Catchpole said a formal function was held at the Suter Art Gallery on Saturday night with Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, who officially opened the gallery.
"[Reddy] and her husband had been involved in the arts quite extensively so they felt at home," Catchpole said.
"It seemed really appropriate for one of her first public engagements to open a gallery."
About 200 people attended the opening on Saturday night, including staff, volunteers, trustees and city councillors.
Catchpole said local iwi welcomed Reddy, after which Nelson mayor Rachel Reese and Bishop Suter Trust chairperson Craig Potton gave speeches.
The bishop of Nelson concluded the proceedings with a blessing of the building.
"And then everyone flowed into the galleries and got their first taste of the building enlivened with the art works," Catchpole said.
The Moari pu in the foyer of the gallery was unveiled on Friday night with a special blessing.
"Each one represents the six iwi of this area and the seventh one represents all the rest of us," Catchpole said.
"They are just beautiful and they just added the extra special touch to the foyer."