art centre


It’s The End Of The World As We Know It…

October 18 2021 by Scott Kennedy

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It…

Even when you know the bad news is coming - it still hits like a shot to the guts. By April next year and after twenty-plus years - the Queenstown Arts Centre will be homeless. The land and building is owned by QLDC and like renters everywhere, you’re never in complete control over your own future.

The Council’s long planned Project Manawa will eventually be a community arts and culture hub on the spot where the Art Centre currently sits. The challenge for us is: what happens in the gap between our current home and the beautiful home that (eventually) awaits us?

We had hoped that The Arts Centre would face the wrecking ball the day before construction began on our forever home - but the reality of civic development isn’t quite so straightforward. Like a game of municipal musical chairs, building sites in central Queenstown are going to hop around for the next few years with familiar faces like The Arts Centre and The Memorial Centre being taken to the ground so that roading, parking and development can take place - all in the name of the eventual shiny endgame of a spectacular arts precinct. Or at least we hope.

So where does that leave us? Instinct says to fight, to chain ourselves to the bulldozer and rally the troops. Or turn tail and run - fold up our easels, give the brushes one final rinse and call time. But there is a third option - one that we are most looking forward to: Re-birth.

We’ve spent two decades building a community that’s bigger than a space, more important than a building and more resilient than any of these challenges. Our art classes will migrate to the beautiful new Te Atamira space in Frankton. This space will also be the new home for our ever expanding artist workshop series, selected gallery shows and a creative space for some of our studio artists with their purpose built studio spaces. And we’ll expand into central Queenstown with pop-up spaces for gallery shows with local and emerging art for sale (local landlords: consider this the shoulder tap).

But for this third, relentlessly positive option to work - we’ll need your help. We’ll need support from our community to roll with these waves, from our supporters to think laterally about spaces for pop-up shows and space for the arts in downtown QT and help from everyone to remind the council that our forever home isn’t a ‘nice to have’, it’s a ‘need to have’ for the local arts community.

So as REM said around the time the Arts Centre opened our doors, “It’s the end of the world as we know it… and we feel fine.” Well maybe not fine, but we’re not going away that’s for sure.

Scott Kennedy
Community Arts Coordinator at the Queenstown Arts Centre

- Scott Kennedy