Weekend Sun   

For the love of art

Maree Cleaver and Sarah Bacon are two members of a local art-buying group exhibiting its collection. Photo: Bruce Barnard

A local art buying group has one rule – to only collect from and support Bay of Plenty creatives.

Chrysalis Collection came to life in 2010, and since then has been slowly building up its shared collection of works.

Works created by emerging and established artists from across the Bay, extending from Rotorua to Waihi.

The group is hosting an exhibition of more than 30 works, from Saturday until November 2 as part of the Tauranga Arts Festival.

Chairperson Rhonda Hewlett says the positive feedback on the collection so far has been overwhelming.

"We are just amateurs, but the collection is a labour of love and I think it shows.

"A musician from New York involved with the festival said he had never been into a gallery that had so many diverse pieces that he loved. Our minds were completely blown."

Chrysalis Collection has 15 members and the collection of artworks rotate around the group every four months.

Rhonda describes the group as a "cobbled together group of colleagues, associates and friends who all love art for various reasons”.

She says the group only collects from artists with links to the BOP because "charity begins at home".

"We really like to look after our artists. The life of an artist is fairly precarious at times, you have to conceive it, make it, then try and sell it.

"They are all outstanding artists and we are so grateful to have them all a part of the collection."

Chrysalis Collection is lucky enough to meet many of the artists they purchase works from, which Rhonda says is the biggest thrill for her personally.

"To meet the artists, and know the person is really the nirvana of collecting,” she says.

"Without them, there's no point to us. So, it is the ultimate to support them and to know them.”

Founding member Maree Cleaver says she simply could not pick a favourite work to choose from out of the collection. Rhonda agrees.

The group will come to the end of their 10-year charter in 2020. Rhonda hopes they can pass the baton over to another group of individuals.

“We think it would be such a shame to let it waft out into the ether.  We really want to see our legacy continue,” says Rhonda. 

 “It’s been really rewarding to see this come to fruition over the past nine years, we set out to do something and we did it,” adds Maree.

The exhibition is being held at 20 Spring Street, Red Square in the Tauranga CBD. Entry is free.

Works featured in the exhibition include those of Emma Prill, Rachel Denny, Kereama Taepa, Nigel Brown, Owen Dippie, Fiona Kerr Gedson and Duane Moyle.

For more information, visit: www.taurangafestival.co.nz

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