New Home for Artspace Aotearoa on Karangahape Road

An exciting move is bringing Artspace Aotearoa closer to the community.

Artspace Aotearoa is moving - to the ground floor of the same building. With the move, the gallery will gain more space for exhibitions and have the opportunity to present new programmes at street-level access, finally making the public gallery accessible to everybody. We also see this as a means to develop closer relationships with the neighbourhood and local community.

“We have looked at what we are good at, what a fast-changing city could need, and what we feel are certain gaps in the current contemporary art climate in Aotearoa”, comments Remco de Blaaij, Director of Artspace Aotearoa.

The move is part of the institution’s new strategic plan Te Ara Tipu - The Pathway to Growth, drawing upon the core concept of the proverb ‘Ka Mua, Ka Muri’ (We Walk Backwards into the Future).

“Standing on the significant shoulders of previous staff, artist communities, and governance, we recognise that it is time for Artspace Aotearoa to mature, whakapakeke, while maintaining an identity as an independent contemporary arts entity”, explains Desna Whaanga-Schollum, Artspace Aotearoa Chairperson. “Our new space will afford increased opportunity to transform practices and values in environmental, social, cultural and mental wellbeing. A takiwa which supports manaakitanga via a diverse range of social experiences”.

The exhibition space will be one of the first elements visitors will experience as they walk through the door. There will also be a small cinema space to screen new and exciting moving image and cinematic work from local and international artists. The library, reading room and workspace will still be among the main features for the wider local community.

“The main thing is that we will be able to connect better with our community by simply and physically opening up the space more than we do now. In the new space, people will feel more welcome to just enter and enjoy the space”, adds de Blaaij.

Designed by PAC Studio architects, the concept for the new space will provide the ideal backdrop for the institution’s bold exhibitions and other programming. The fit-out will use more industrial materials, such as galvanised steel, and have an exposed ceiling, which are not common in fine art galleries.

“Our work is looking to reflect Artspace Aotearoa’s commitment to supporting contemporary art. For us this means reflecting the institution’s unique character as a risk-taker and deeply engaged member of the cultural community”, explains Sarosh Mulla from PAC Studio.
For de Blaaij, PAC Studio offers “an unusual approach to design, which I would call more a form of research-led design. They didn’t focus on set ideas of space and architecture or furniture but really dived into our programme, our infrastructure, our needs and anxieties for the future, Auckland as an urban environment, and so on”.

2019 brought a series of new developments for the organisation, starting with the name change to include Aotearoa, acknowledging the multiple voices and identities within our society. Next came the modernisation of the website, turning it into a digital tool rather than just a static place for information. The team is working hard to upload the 32-year archive there. 2020 will also bring a new programme with fewer but longer exhibitions, a curatorial programme and an artists’ residency studio and workshop at the new space.

Building works are already going on and scaffolding is now covering most of the building. The exhibition space and offices will reopen on 6 March, with a highly anticipated exhibition by Maree Sheehan entitled Ōtairongo as part of the Auckland Arts Festival 2020. The rest of the building project is expected to be completed by mid-2020.

“Our move is a modest but needed one, one that will allow us to do more and better to our community'' - Remco de Blaaij, Director of Artspace Aotearoa.

Artspace Aotearoa

(From 6 March 2020)
292 Karangahape Road - Ground floor
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
Aotearoa New Zealand
Ph: 09 465 4631

For further enquiries please contact:

Geneva Alexander-Marsters
Marketing, Media, & Communications Assistant
DDI (09) 869 3964
MOB: 022 174 1661