Arts society fills president’s spot

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The Wanaka Arts Society has had an injection of new energy.

In August The News reported on concerns the society, more than 50 years old, was struggling to find someone to replace outgoing president Joanna Nimmo, of Wanaka.

“I can hear the screams now if we said ‘it’s over by Friday’,” Nimmo said at the time.

Now the society has a brighter future, Vicky Fulton, of Wanaka, having been elected as the new president.

Fulton, a professional photographer, moved to Wanaka from Auckland recently, and took up the challenge after being assured she would be helped in the role by Nimmo.

Fulton said as she was new to the area “there is a lot to learn about all the local artists” and Nimmo had “a lot of experience”.

An open forum was held, which attracted around 50 people.

“We did a callout to all art lovers in the area.

“We sat down in groups and we said ‘what do you like about the society, what don’t you like [and] what would you like to see happening in the Wanaka art scene?”‘

Since then membership had increased from 50 to 115, and changes were planned, including rebranding and more communication, Fulton said.

The society’s annual Labour Weekend exhibition at the Lake Wanaka Centre was in good shape, around 50 artists taking part this year.

Guest artists were painter Diana Adams, of Canterbury, photographer Janyne Fletcher, of Ranfurly, and glass artist Marie Simberg-Hoglund, of Cromwell.

Two artists would be working through the weekend – encaustic painter Jenny Hill, of Cromwell, and textile artist Heather Kerr, of Wanaka.

The exhibition’s theme of “stick your neck out” had encouraged a variety of artists to take part, including younger artists and first-time entrants, Fulton said.

She was “quite excited” at the prospect of the exhibition because the theme was “a bit of fun”.

“It is producing all sorts of things from artists, so that is kind of invigorating.”

As well as painting, the exhibition would feature sculpture, jewellery, ceramics, textile art and photography.

The exhibition opens at 5pm tonight and runs until Monday at the Lake Wanaka Centre.