Galleries note heavy demand for art

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Art galleries in Central Otago have been busier than expected since lockdown ended.
Eade Gallery owner Melanie Eade said sales had ‘‘gone through the roof’’.

While there was little sales activity in her gallery in Clyde during lockdown, since New Zealanders had been able to get out and about, she had been busy.

‘‘Since lockdown, I have been trading as if it is peak season every month.’’

As New Zealanders are not travelling overseas because of Covid-19 restrictions, more are exploring the country.

Many had additional discretionary spending money available, and often were choosing to spend it on artwork.

‘‘They have got money and they want to buy something.

‘‘A lot of people have said they wanted to support local businesses, which is really nice, and they come here to take a piece of Central Otago away with them.’’

OCTA owners and artists Gail and Christopher de Jong showcase prints, sculptures, ceramics and other art work in their gallery in Cromwell.

Mr de Jong had seen an improvement in business, which he attributed to extra money available and more New Zealanders exploring the country.

‘‘Since Covid, it has been steady compared to previous years.

‘‘I think there is a strong buoyancy and there is spare cash.’’

The Picture Lounge — New Zealand Photographers Gallery owner photographer Christopher Thompson called his sales interesting and better than expected.

‘‘It has been more of a roller coaster.

‘‘We had a great couple of months coming out of lockdown.’’

Many of his customers were visiting this part of the country for the first time.

‘‘People stayed at home [during lockdown] looking at their walls and they realised they needed to get more art.’’

As they could no longer travel overseas for their holidays, they had more discretionary money to spend on luxury items such as art, as well as cars and boats, and demand for those goods had been unusually high.

Photographer Janyne Fletcher has a workshop and gallery in Ranfurly.

She, too, said she had been busier than normal.

‘‘I think October was quite outstanding.’’

She had also sold more online for the time of the year than she normally would.

‘‘I do miss the Australians doing the Rail Trail.

‘‘However, the Kiwis are getting out and exploring the country and they gravitate towards all sorts of things.’’

Central Otago Art Society president Nigel Wilson has been a professional artist for more than 20 years and has an open studio in Clyde.

He sells work from his studio to locals and domestic tourists as well as online.

‘‘Over the last year, I think it has been surprising that art businesses are doing so well.’’

A lot of his customers had been travelling around, from Auckland and Christchurch, while others were cycling the Rail Trail.

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