History of Auckland East Arts

Auckland East Arts Council ( AEAC) was incorporated on 28 August 1984 as part of the network of community arts councils, supported by the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council. AEAC’s aims were to introduce people to the arts, to encourage greater participation in the arts, and to grow the arts community of Auckland’s Eastern Bays.

In 1984 Auckland Council granted AEAC an option to occupy a site in Merton Road, St Johns with the intention of building an arts centre, the ‘Galarie Theatre’. The architectural plans included a theatre that would seat 232 people, and four display rooms that could be opened up into one large gallery. Raising the estimated $ 2.5 million was a challenge and, due to the economic downturn of 1987, the project had to be abandoned.

From 1985 – 1998 AEAC mounted exhibitions at venues which included St Luke’s Community Centre in Remuera, Orakei Community Centre and the Tamaki Ex-Services Association Hall in St. Heliers.

Between 1999 – 2008, the venue of AEAC’s St. Heliers Bay Arts Festival was the ASB Stadium in Kohimarama. These festivals included selected pottery, painting and sculpture competitions, popular choice awards, displays of amateur art, demonstrations by guest artists and crafts people, and displays of costumes and textile arts, including traditional arts of the Pacific. Local schools displayed bursary portfolios and other student work and took part in the programmes of music and dance, which included kapahaka and performances by ethnic groups.

For a number of years AEAC took part in the annual St. Heliers Bay Village Community Festival organised by the St. Heliers Village Association. This included a very popular children’s pavement drawing competition in the main street, exhibitions of members’ paintings in St. Heliers Community Library, demonstrations of painting by members and children’s art competitions. In past years, the Remuera and Ellerslie Business Associations have both invited AEAC to mount exhibitions, which have involved displaying artworks in the windows of shops and, at Ellerslie, it mounted exhibitions at the Ellerslie War Memorial Community Centre.

AEAC has an ongoing display of its members’ work at the St. Heliers Community Library and, in past years, it has held similar displays at the Remuera Library and at the Orakei Community Centre. Members have also held open-air exhibitions at St. Heliers and Mission Bay, and indoor exhibitions at venues such as St. Phillip’s Church Hall in St. Heliers, the Scout Hall in Churchill Park, the Information Centre in Cornwall Park and local shopping malls.

AEAC currently organises an annual ‘Pop Up Art Sale’ exhibition held in February/March plus an annual Merit Awards exhibition of members work at St Thomas Church Hall in Kohimarama, which is usually held in October.

Also since 2004 AEAC has been invited by Ryman Healthcare to mount an annual exhibition ‘Artshowcase’ at the Grace Joel Retirement Village in St. Heliers. This event includes a featured artist, the exhibition Opening is a social occasion, with guest speakers who are either notable people in the arts or local dignitaries, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of work at this exhibition is donated to a selected charity.

The majority of members of AEAC are currently painters and, to enable them to improve their knowledge and skills, AEAC runs a weekly ‘ Do Your Own Thing’ group, which is untutored, as well as a Plein Air painting group. Until recently, it has organised regular life studies and portraiture groups providing live models.

The weekly ‘Plein Air Painting Group’ gets together at various locations for out-door painting, with the next location advised one week in advance, (always weather dependent!)
During the year, AEAC also engages professional art teachers to provide two or three demonstrations and work-shops for its members. Possibly unique to AEAC is an annual costume tableau, in which members draw and paint historical costumes worn by live models. Other activities include visits to exhibitions, galleries and artists studios, a Mid-Winter function, in July, End-Of Year get-together in early December and Annual General Meeting parties.

Auckland East Arts is a voluntary organisation. It is registered as a Charitable Trust and, true to its objectives, drawn up over 30 years ago, it nurtures the arts, and it nurtures the arts and voices the need for more and better facilities where members of the community can take part in cultural activities.


Copyright © Auckland East Arts Council