The small town of Naseby, population about 150, has added an art gallery to its attractions with the opening of Stardust Gallery in a cottage attached to the old Naseby Stables.
Photographer Phil Flanagan owns the building and lives in part of it, and has turned the remainder into a well-lit studio for artist Jenny Chisholm and display space for work by them both, alongside other artists.
“It evolved from Jenny needing a place to do her art and me having a building that needed repurposing,” Flanagan said.
The gallery opened the week before Christmas and has been popular with both locals and visitors to the town.
“It’s been busier than we expected,” he said.
“The holiday period was very busy and now we’re getting people from the rail trail and campers.”
Also a builder who specialises in designing and making small huts, Flanagan’s twin passions of creating spaces and photography have combined in the gallery.
“I get to do my passion and it creates a lovely lifestyle,” he said.
The gallery also shows unique pieces by Geoff Tindall-Morice former structural engineer who creates what he terms “functional art” Jane Whitaker.
“It’s every artist’s ultimate dream to have a studio where you can be open to the public,” Chisholm said, before pausing to reconsider.
“At least it’s mine,” she added with a laugh.
She welcomes people looking over her shoulder as she works and loves to chat with them, and is not at all surprised at how popular Naseby is with visitors.
“Kiwis like going off the beaten track, and more so now,” she said.
“People are just wanting to go somewhere easy where there’s something to do.”