Arts society has 40th anniversary to celebrate soon

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The Wanaka Arts Society is celebrating its 40th anniversary with an expanded exhibition and a “Ruby Red” theme.

President Vicky Fulton said it had been a busy year for the organisation.

“We’ve done a lot of changes in the last year.”

The society ran a forum last year asking local people interested in the arts in Wanaka to contribute their thoughts and ideas.

There was “a great response” and about 50 people took part in the discussions.

“We’ve acted on a lot of the things that came out of that.”

Better communication was one of the aims, so the society had increased its presence on social media, and was providing more information related to art in Wanaka, including exhibitions or competitions.

“We’ve had get-togethers, and we aim to do more of those, just casual get-togethers with our members.”

The society had also signed a contract to have “revolving exhibitions” in the new Wanaka Community Hub in McDougall St when it opens its doors in November. This would provide an opportunity for local artists to show their work.

“We are in charge of managing the artworks that hang, so we are going to change it quarterly.”

The society aimed to do more to “recognise our young artists”.

A new logo had been created for the society, and an extra day was added to the annual Labour Weekend exhibition on the Thursday night, “so that Wanaka people who are going away for the weekend can come”.

This year’s exhibition will be its biggest yet with more than 200 artworks.

A gift shop had also been added in which local artists could sell their works.

“That is cards and ceramics and small things that people don’t necessarily want to put in an exhibition, but they have got art to sell.”

The exhibition had more variety including scrap metal artist Luke Wilson, of Wanaka – “he’s got a three and a-half metre tuatara”.

An “artist discussion” with Central Otago artist Grahame Sydney would take place on Saturday afternoon.

Four new life members would also be announced during the weekend.

The exhibition would feature “really interesting pieces” this year, Ms Fulton said.

Guest artists were kinetic metalworker Scott Johnson, of Wanaka, sculptor Johnny Mayen, of Wanaka, painter Gus Watson, of Arrowtown and painter Lynley van Alphen, of The Catlins.

Working artists were Melissa Sharplin, of Wanaka, and the Wanaka Woodworkers Guild.

The Wanaka Arts Society Labour Weekend art exhibition opens on October 24 from 5pm, and runs till 2pm on October 28 at the Lake Wanaka Centre.