Sad loss for Helensville’s Art World

by Brian Hale
The Helensville Community News was sad to hear of the departure of Sally Lush from her role as Manager of The Art Centre, due to a concern by the Board of Art Kaipara as a result of the uncertainty of long term funding being available. Sally has been a great supporter of this paper over many years, supplying articles and information about the Helensville and surrounding art world. Initially these were about the fantastic art trail at the Kaipara Sculpture Gardens where Sally was the curator and more recently about The Art Centre in her role as Manager.
Sally has worked tirelessly for the community of the Kaipara region for a long time and made the Art Centre a welcoming place for people of all talents to learn about art and become involved in the process of making and exhibiting their work.
Sally’s first involvement with the Art Centre was when she stepped in to run the Art Centre in Karaka Street when Pauline, the coordinator, was ill and in hospital in Sydney and then Auckland after a flight from the UK.
Sally has a huge experience in art gained from over 20 years involvement in Arts Management. She set up 2 Art Galleries in Devonport, Art by the sea and Art Of This World, working as Merchandise Manager at Auckland Art Gallery, mentoring artists in the Arts Lab programme at The Depot, running the education programme at Lake House, Takapuna, curating Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens and Harbourview Sculpture Trails and Auckland Arts Festival White Night events.
Due to this experience she was asked by Rodney local board to become involved in Art Kaipara, the governing body, to bring robustness to the Governance to enable council to feel confident of progressing a new build/ fit out for a new space under the War Memorial Hall that they wished to offer to the existing Art Centre. As the newly elected Chairman/ President of Art Kaipara Sally worked tirelessly to push this project through to completion culminating with the opening by the then Mayor, Len Brown in September 2015. The new space which encompasses a gallery exhibition space, a media room for video projections, an education room, slide out hanging racks which double the exhibition space, office, kitchen and storage areas is a huge asset to the Helensville community.
“It has been great to work with many artists whom I have developed relationships with over the last 20 or so years and have them become involved in the Art Centre eg Vjekoslav Nemesha painting tutor, Darryl Fagence whose glass exhibition was extremely popular, John Mulholland with his recent amazing exhibition Separation in Space, Evan Woodruffe who taught 2 Fluid Acrylic classes recently, James Ballantyne and Tony Brown whose amazing work was a highlight of the Mataraiki exhibitions.”
“It has been a wonderful experience to be able to work with and mentor artists having their first solo shows e.g. Ray Scott, Tracey Cannon, Kiri Abraham, Atarangi Anderson, Darryl Fagence and Leda Daniel, with these shows being planned up to a year in advance to ensure that planning, marketing and of course having the work completed all goes smoothly. It is a very brave act for an artist to hold their first show of their artwork and have it come under public scrutiny and assisting artists to break through those self-confidence issues has been rewarding for me.” Sally says.
Sally has enjoyed nurturing children’s creativity which she says has been fun and rewarding through teaching the school holiday programmes and working on the collaborative project to create the Where the Wild Things Are installation with Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens.
Sally also had a greatly appreciated the opportunity to impart some business knowledge whilst working with students from Kaipara College on an exhibition as part of their Business Module.
Sally has also lobbied the Local Board and Auckland Council and rallied for public support to ensure that Arts in the community is not overlooked in the future plans and budgeting rounds.
As a fervent supporter of the arts in Helensville Sally encourages anyone interested in the arts to go along to the next AGM of The Art Centre to become involved and to see how they could influence the future of your art centre.
The Helensville Community News wishes Sally all the very best in her future art endeavours.

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