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Kia ora e te whanau Mahara

It’s been a long four weeks since lockdown started and a poignant reminder of the importance of the arts to help people stay connected and healthy in this time of social distancing. Our small team have all been working hard in our home offices, zooming in for meetings and refocusing our attention on putting most of our shows onto our website www.maharagallery.org.nz  which is exciting.

Next Tuesday 28 April we are celebrating Frances Hodgkins’ 151st birthday with a Zoom cup of tea with some of her biggest fans, then posting that to our facebook page at 11am. If you do facebook please visit that event with your most beautiful teacup (inspired by Frances Hodgkins’ The Fortune Teller teacup shown below) and share the discussion, or you can also watch it on our website.

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Courtesy of the Field Collection Trust

The following day our new group show re-framed//lockdown — which started life as FrameUPS in our gallery frames — will go live on our website. We currently have about 25 artists on board and are happy to put more work up if you can send us good digital files, this will be a rolling show linked to the Mahara Facebook and Instagram sites and it no longer has the size or media constraints of the original concept. We are so thrilled that the artists wanted to continue with this project as a gallery fundraiser. Between 50% and 100% of each artist’s sale will go towards the gallery redevelopment. It has been so good to keep connecting with many artists during this strange time and supporting them in their creative practice, so please view the show and contribute to supporting your local arts economy.

Meantime if you are not sure where to go for further support as an arts practitioner, there is information on our website. We have also kept contact with our wonderful team of volunteers and updated them on what might happen next for the gallery. At Level 3 we will remain closed to the public and continue working from home until May 11. We expect to be able to re-open at Level 2 and will be very pleased to welcome visitors back into the gallery to view shows and browse our reference library and retail area, but will need to continue physical distancing and contact tracing. We will not be able to offer group events such as openings, talks and workshops. We are working on other ways to deliver our planned programmes online, looking ahead for the next six months initially, and will keep you posted. Be assured the gallery continues to function and plan, but meantime we miss our people, being able to see and experience art in person and to share it intimately with others!

I want to acknowledge the great support we have received over the past year from Julie Sperring in strategic planning, helping us with several big funding applications which are all now lodged, and as convenor of the Friends for three great events. She wishes to withdraw from these roles now and we wish her all the best for her next creative projects. The Friends will not be able to meet in their usual way for the forseeable future but we will find new ways to connect meantime and value your ongoing moral and financial support immensely. I also want to thank Kathryne and Tracey for their sterling work in keeping the gallery administration running smoothly, Amanda for her ongoing design work and all of our wider arts friends and colleagues. Kia kaha, we are all in this together: stay safe and well.

Janet Bayly, Director

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