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Let’s not let traffic cones get in the way of community

October 11 2021 by Lynda Hensman

I’m not a writer, I’m an artist. So forgive my ‘shoot straight from the heart’ essay.

I formed The Ivy Box art gallery down on beautiful Park Street right next to Jubilee Park and just across from the lake in 2015. When I opened it, I had a vision to create something different in Queenstown. I wanted to share a space with like-minded creatives who were not bound by chains of commercialism. A space where it is OK to express oneself freely.

After extensive renovations to what was a cold, old building (it was Queenstown’s original butcher’s shop back in the day), we’ve recently re-opened our gallery. Myself and the most amazing artists, sculptors, jewellery-makers are exhibiting now at the gallery. We have brought rawness and passion to the table and I think it is truly worth a detour to get here and see what talented local artists have to offer.

And it truly is a detour. Park Street is a mess. There’s been many disruptions over the years, but now there’s more traffic cones and confusing signs than ever. The roadworks and stormwater improvements happening to Park and Suburb Streets seems unending. Town has also suffered, with many amazing shops, galleries and cafes hidden behind traffic cones and noisy machinery.

Yes, these are important infrastructure works, but the disruption to life, work and our sense of community during this difficult time is palpable. The Council and local crews have been very supportive with signage and trying to keep The Ivy Box gallery and affected parts of town in sight. But we and other local organisations and businesses still need your support.

We’re asking you to make an exception out of your day because we’re a creative group of sensitive souls, who enjoy the interaction of others. Who, when a person in some way resonates with a piece of our art and expresses that feeling, it’s music to our souls. Also it may surprise you, we’re not all arty talk. We can hold a healthy conversation like the best of them and enjoy a good hearty debate!

We miss our local community and we’d like to see you again. Why would you let some roadworks get in the way of visiting this most outstanding gallery forged from passion and love? Yes, it does resemble Las Vegas but detour VEINT Street carry on down, turn right then left onto PARK STREET and you will find us.

I encourage you to come back to town. Visit us on Park Street again. Turn your back to the traffic cones and take a moment to enjoy the view and embrace the Queenstown community. Take a moment to remember why you live in this beautiful town.

We’re looking forward to seeing you soon.

- Lynda Hensman