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Introducing Raglan’s newest art gallery

Matapihi Art Gallery will throw open its door for its official opening on Saturday 27th February. The building formally known as HQ at 34 Bow Street was taken over by Ardre’Foote and Ariana Millward last October and the pair have spent the past few months putting their ideas for the building into practice. “We had a concept,” says Ardre. “But we’ve been feeling the space out.”
The building, which will be open 7 days a week, will be used for a variety of different purposes. As a gallery artwork from a variety of different artists, both local and from around New Zealand will be on show. Ardre says the aim is to offer a space where many different art forms are welcome. “We’re trying to be different from the shops on the main street,” she says. “Nowhere else has a Maori flavour.”
Since putting the word out to local artists they have received plenty of support and locals such as Ruth Port, Robyn Lloyd, Linda Holmes and Gene Pospisil are already exhibiting.
The building also offers a second room at the back of the property which is available to hire as a workshop or further exhibition space. Ariana, a contemporary weaver, currently uses this room to offer one-on-one or group weaving workshops.
The use of the space within the building is something Ardre and Ariana remain flexible about. “We’re trying to be versatile,” says Ardre. “A collective might want to come in or someone might want the whole space.”
One room in the building has been set aside for art of a different kind. Ardre practices her Miri Miri massage from this space and one day a week qualified counsellor and life coach Sarah Edwards will be using the room. Sarah works as a contractor for a counselling service and will be able to provide a low cost and sometimes free service for locals every Thursday. Ardre says the theme of the room is one of healing. “It’s a welcome, safe environment and a place where all members of the community can come to feel supported and inspired.”
The gallery will be hosting monthly music nights. The first ‘House Concert’ on the 13th February was well supported by the community and ? will be performing this Saturday lunchtime as part of the opening celebrations.
There are lots of other plans in the pipeline — Ardre and Ariana are planning to open the kitchen area and are looking to use the front lawn as an exhibition space for sculpture. Later in the year Maori arts practitioner James Webster will be joining the gallery. James is a multi-media artist and Tamoko (Maori tattoo) artist. All money made from events held at the gallery and the commission from artwork will go back into further renovating and developing the building.
The official opening of Matapihi Art Gallery begins with a Whakatau and Karakia at 10.30am on Saturday and Ardre and Ariana say everyone is welcome to attend.

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