24 May 2015

Ashburton's $10m art gallery finally opens

7:26 pm on 24 May 2015

Ashburton's new $10 million art gallery opened this weekend, almost a year after it was expected to.

Ashburton Art Gallery and Heritage Centre.

Ashburton Art Gallery Photo: Ashburton District Council

In May last year, the old gallery closed its doors with the expectation its replacement would be open within three months.

The new gallery and museum did open in February, but $4 million over budget and without any art, after it was discovered the air-conditioning unit could not provide the conditions needed to preserve the collection.

The gallery manager, Shirin Khosraviani said it was an understatement to say staff were eager to see the doors open.

She said about 350 people attended the opening yesterday - twice the anticipated number.

Ms Khosraviani said lectures, artist talks and workshops were planned for the opening season to make the most of the new facility.

She said the first exhibitions are by the artists Phillip Trusttum and Tara Douglas.

Ms Khosraviani said given the Christchurch Art Gallery was still closed because of earthquake damage, she hoped the Ashburton facility could fill a gap for art-lovers from there.