Toni Edmeades will continue her work maintaining the art collection, but will now have greater scope to make the Gallery as accessible to the public as possible.
“I’d like to facilitate greater engagement with the gallery and more access to our collections,” she says. “I’d like more people to visit us, to use us, to use the collection to create new works.”
Toni envisages an expansion of public programmes that could even see members of the public join in with Te Manawa’s content development process. She wants the Art Gallery to be much more than just “art on a wall”.
Her new role has evolved out of last year’s re-invigoration project that revolutionised how the Te Manawa art collection is presented. It will build upon the new ways of co-operation that project gave rise to. As well as continuing to work with her traditional partners in the Exhibitions team, Toni is looking forward to involving other teams such as Events or Learning to bring a greater dynamism to the Gallery.
“It can only make our schedule stronger, and it can only be more inviting for visitors, and more varied for them as well,” she says.
Look for future art-based events where the public can come in and use the collection as inspiration for their own works, or hear an artist speak about their practice before joining in with it. These events begin on 24 February, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s 178th birthday. Toi Warbrick will join Te Manawa with an event centred around Renoir’s famous painting Luncheon of the Boating Party, and how it features in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 film Amélie. There’ll be illustrated talks, hands-on activities, and of course cake.
Expect more events that use the Gallery space in new ways, too; the first of these is an art-themed murder mystery night planned for 12 April.
General admission to the gallery and museum is free, though donations are appreciated. Find more information on events and programmes at Te Manawa here.