Cityscape caught up with leading gallerist Jonathan Smart on the eve of the opening of awesome new contemporary gallery and art space The Central in The Arts Centre’s 100-year-old Library.
What is the concept behind The Central?
We want to celebrate The Library space for its unique character, and create an environment for the artists to flourish, and we’re cultivating an inviting space that is accessible in both content and ambience. We’re also bringing the very best contemporary art back to the centre of the new city. This is expressed in the range of painting and photography being presented in the opening show, from works by Neil Dawson, Dick Frizzell, Fiona Pardington, Lonnie Hutchinson and others.
Neil Dawson, Plate 6
Tell us about the space and why it was chosen.
We chose it because of its central location; and its grace, beauty and dignity as a visual space. Being part of the wonderfully-restored historical precinct of the old university, The Arts Centre, its recent iterations as a gallery gives it a great context, and we're keen to continue growing its already well-established history as a visual arts space.
What will The Central bring to the Christchurch art scene?
It’s going to bring energy, accessibility, and professionalism at the top end in the centre of the city. What can we expect from the Grand Opening exhibition? A wonderful occasion and a range of art with price and access points for everyone.
The Grand Opening Exhibition at The Central runs through March and is followed by Simon Edwards (April) and Elizabeth Thomson (May).