Move to close gallery defeated

The Invercargill City Gallery will remain open after a proposal to close it was defeated at a meeting on Saturday.

More than 30 people attended the meeting - called by the arts society council - at the gallery in Don St to discuss its future.

Newly elected Southland Arts Society president Max Reid said the arts society council's recommendation to close the gallery and make the co-ordinator redundant because of the society's financial circumstances were discussed.

But the motion was defeated.

Strong support for maintaining the gallery as an integral part of Southland's art fabric was expressed.

It was suggested concerns about the society's financial situation could have been overstated, with a signficant proportion of the gallery's reported operating deficit due to a change in accounting reporting standards.

Several society members volunteered to be co-opted on to the Southland Arts Society Council while other members of the council tendered their resignations.

New Southland Arts Society Council members elected at the meeting were Max Reid, Carmen Hao, and Southland artists Annie Bourque, Marion Miller, Bernie Casie and Chris Flavell. Liz Bristow and Duston remain on the council.

Mr Reid said the future of the gallery relied on the support of the Southland community.

"While the gallery's future is secure for now, the strength of that community support - including that of society members - will be critical going forward."

City Gallery co-ordinator Kathryn Blomfield said she was thrilled at the support shown by the Southland Art Society members and public to keep the city gallery open and retain her position.

"There was a strong commitment at the meeting on Saturday to ensure a positive way forward and I am delighted that we now have a newly elected art society council that is committed to ensuring the gallery remains a strong connection between artists, local business and the wider community."

The gallery was a vibrant, growing part of the inner city.

"We all need to ensure this continues to be the focal point for art in our community."

A new exhibition of Southland Art Society members' work is scheduled to open at the gallery later this week.

The Southland Times