The second stage of a restoration at Alexandra’s Henderson House has helped further elevate the home to its “proper condition”, Henderson House trustee Grahame Sydney says.
Henderson House was the home of Alexandra arts philanthropists the late Barbara and Russell Henderson, and since 2007 has been host to writers through an invitation-only artist-in-residence programme.
Now visual artists can be invited, too, following a six-figure project that has enabled the renovation of an arts studio at the house, which was designed by Austrian architect Ernst Plischke in the 1950s.
Mr Sydney said the studio renovation was the second in a three-stage renovation of the home, the first being a $450,000 renovation of the house done in 2012. At the time, Sydney said Henderson House was “a fabulous piece of New Zealand architecture” and the project had restored the home “as close as we can manage it, to Ernest Plischke’s original intent”.
Sydney said the third stage of the project was a proposed redesign of the large gardens at Henderson House. It was hoped to do that within two to three years, and trustees were considering funding options and applications at present.
He said trustees were thrilled with the studio renovation, which was done by Breen Construction, and the work was part of the broader project to continue elevating Henderson House to “its proper condition”.
It also permitted a “broader range” of artists to be invited to take part in the residency.
This year’s artists-in-residence are husband and wife Gregory O’Brien and Jenny Bornholdt, of Wellington. O’Brien is an artist, curator and writer and Bornholdt is a writer and anthologist.
They said they were excited about the possibilities the residency might bring and already enjoying exploring Central Otago and beginning writing and arts projects.
Sydney said the Henderson House trustees and Central Otago community were thrilled to have O’Brien and Bornholdt as the latest artists-in-residence.
“They are very generously disposed and positive people and we’re lucky to have them.”