Help wanted for arts centre

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PROGRESS is being made on restructuring and reforming the Riverton Community Arts Centre, but more people who are passionate about the arts are needed.

The centre, which had provided a hub for Southland artists for more than 15 years, closed its doors in January, instead hosting selective exhibitions.

Formed in 2000, the centre was originally located in the former St John hall on Palmerston St, where it had hosted Arts on Tour events, film screenings, concerts, artists’ talks and workshops as well as exhibitions, but had to shift down the street after the hall was deemed an earthquake risk.

As a result of changing buildings, the centre could no longer host all the events in one place, and, as a result, attendance, sales and interest in the arts centre declined.

Riverton Community Arts Centre interim arts centre administrator Lisa Grace said since the closure the trustees had held a public meeting in January when a variety of ideas were suggested, some of which were already being investigated.

Among them was recruiting Venture Southland to research art centre and society models in other towns which had a comparable population to Riverton (less than 5000) to see what could benefit the arts centre, Ms Grace said.

Also among the suggestions were looking for suitable buildings or other spaces for the centre, developing a vision and costs.

“We are also forming a ‘think tank’ to get things going, which has picked up pace,” she said.

The next public meeting will focus on recruiting more volunteers and trustees, as well as an opportunity for people to discuss and generate more ideas to help formulate the future of the centre, Ms Grace said.

“We need more people on the ground who have a passion for the arts and are willing to get involved.”

Arts centre trustee Wayne Hill said as well as ideas for the future, more helpers were needed.

“We need more volunteers on the ground. It’s not a big job, maybe to help on an opening night or at the gallery for a couple of hours when it is open.

“Everybody says they don’t want us to disappear because of what we have achieved, but we need people to step up to the plate… to help us keep going.”

Art in the Heart project manager Janette Malcolm, of Invercargill, and Riverton Community Arts Centre acting chairwoman Helen McCurdy, of Riverton, will chair the next public meeting, which will be held at the Riverton RSA, 141 Palmerston St, on Monday, June 26, at 7pm.

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