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Affordable Arts Gala Opening

  • August 1st, 2008

Wellington’s Affordable Arts Show opening is a vast cocktail party. The art keeps conversationalists circulating,  wine, juice and beer appear when the need arises and the platters of delicious nibbles do not run out.

For an art philistine like me, size is a protection against over-enthusiasm. I find half a dozen things I’d love to have on the wall in the first 100 metres of display. An hour later, second time around, they’ve faded and I’m jaded, down objectively to one or two pieces in the whole show. Then I have to negotiate with Cathy.

The Show is unlikely to have quite the phenomenonal impact that WOW had on Nelson, but  Affordable Arts gets more nationally significant every year.

We came across Nelson friends, and assumed they were there as patrons till they asked if we’d seen Peter’s work. I’ve known him for 20 years without any idea of his art passion. We then admired his work.

It was great to see at the gala some of the hard-working team who created  this successful show. They’ve put a lot into it. Francie Russell (with Bill Brien) and her daughter Carla and  Chris Parkin insisted we become supporters some years ago.

I watched Trust Chairman Gerry Morris acknowledging to  Prime TV that the idea was pinched from Australia, but in Wellington it has truly taken off. It is now  deeply a part of Wellington’s arts’ pre-eminence.

Nothing comes without cost. A local gallery owner told me that some buyers use up their year’s art  budget at the show instead of at galleries. On the other hand it awakens some who’ve never been to galleries to the pleasure of  art.

The catering at Affordable Art was so good it overshadowed the appeal of a farewell dinner afterwards at The Flying Burrito Brothers. Full credit to them though for having a room controller on background music volume. To be able to talk without shouting is an all too rare pleasure.

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