Art Centre Helensville

Pauline Denton, 2nd from right, at a Nemseh Oil painting class

This has been a trying year for everyone, including the Art Centre Helensville (TAC), where financial uncertainty has forced the Board to reduce its staff by disestablishing the position of coordinator and retaining just one member of staff, Manager Heather Steadman. This was an extremely difficult decision, as Pauline Denton made such an important contribution to the Art Centre in her time as coordinator.
Pauline began her part time role holding workshops and art exhibitions to show off the work of the community when the Centre was based in the brick building behind the Art Stop café, situated at the southern end of Commercial Road. She also worked part time co-ordinating arts and activities for Mt. Tabor Trust from the building. When the Art Centre was moved to the basement of the War Memorial Hall, where it is today, Pauline’s coordinator hours were increased from 10 to 15 per week. She also used the new venue as her Mt. Tabor base.
She was popular with the community and dedicated to the centre’s kaupapa of “enhancing the artistic talent and art appreciation of the Kaipara Region through exhibitions, workshops and artist talks.” She instigated most of the workshops TAC has held and has developed many interesting exhibitions. Some of her ideas became annual events, such as Children’s Art and the 3-For-All. She established TAC as an annual satellite space for the Auckland Festival of Photography. Her work for the disabled has seen her curate the visual art exhibition for the InterACT Disability Festival for a number of years, after which each year she has brought a selection of works back to TAC for inclusion on a local level.
She has contributed to and been a huge supporter of TAC as a participating artist, regularly contributing artworks for display in the members’ and other exhibitions. Using a wide variety of media in differing disciplines such as painting, photography, drawing and sculpture, her imagination and creativity seem to know no bounds. As a poet, she has held regular open mic live performance events, both in the original art centre building and at other sites. She has been, and we hope will continue to be, an inspiration to us all in the local and wider art community. The TAC Board wishes Pauline all the best for her future and would like to warmly thank her for her dedication to her job over the years.

Board members in the limelight
Art Centre Board Chairperson Leda Daniel has been an artist for 35 years and has sold in many countries. Now, membership of the Choice website has brought an explosion of interest in her work. The site, run by Monty Betham and Sarah Colcord, sells only pieces made in NZ. A recent in-depth half-hour online interview, where Leda talks about her work, can be accessed on
In the recent Spring issue of Art New Zealand, renowned local sculptor and Art Kaipara Board member Jeff Thomson appears on the cover, and inside the journal is a fascinating 9-page interview, including photographs.
Jeff and Board Secretary Helen Martin are working on a book, ‘Ripples on the Water’, with photographer Ian Baker and designer Bev Goodwin. The book is a chronicle of the making of Rebecca, the corrugated iron yacht Jeff entered in Sculpture on the Gulf, 2019.

Arts in the Ville
Heather, the TAC Manager and most Board members are participating in the festival. Jeff Thomson will again organise the treasure hunt and will be creating up to twenty larger than life screen printed birds to be found perching throughout the town. A few of these will be used as prizes, with the remainder being for sale to raise funds for the Art Centre.

Workshops and other events
The way TAC organises workshops has been re-vamped. They are subsidised by Creative Communities and cost $10 per class.
Next workshops - Art Journaling, with Janet McLeod, 10.30am -12.30pm, 15 Oct – 12 November (5 weeks); Get the Whole Story, Writing Children’s books, with Irene Potter, 10.30am – 12.30pm, 23rd October -27 November (6 weeks).
In addition to workshops, a Board subcommittee is now dedicated to creating events in the community, like the successful Chalkathons held in August and October. A couple of further events are in the pipeline to happen before the end of the year. The concept is to take art out into the community as an extension to the Art Centre.

Members’ exhibition
The current exhibition is the Art Kaipara Members’ Show, which consists of artworks submitted by Art Kaipara members. The show opened on Friday 17 September and will run until 31 October. This is a wonderful exhibition with a total of 72 two pieces on display. The variety of media, subject matter and skill shown in these works exemplifies the wonderful talent we have in our art community. Whilst we are in lockdown 2, the gallery will adhere to all rules as set out by the government such as social distancing and limiting large group events. Come and support your local arts organisation and local artists exhibiting with us. We also have a retail space with local artists work for sale.

Business Award nomination
In exciting news, the Art Centre has made it to the finals of the NorthWest Business Awards 2020 in the Not for Profit category. You can vote online until 16 October There will also be paper voting forms available at the Art Centre Thurs/Fri 10am - 4.30pm and Sat 10am - 2pm.

The Art Centre site
Complex drainage work outside TAC has finally been completed and a couple of our Board members have been working hard to establish garden beds. Within these beds we will have rotating works of art on plinths and will be seeking suitable works for this in the coming months. Watch this space.

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