Art classes might not yet be back, but Leigh’s Foundation Gallery & Arts Hub is still determined to show off new work by local artists, especially younger ones.
Owner Hillary Austin Calder says it has been a real wrench not being able to see the gallery’s young creators, known as the Barefoot Artists, so she is asking them to bring along their favourite recent artwork for a special lockdown display.
“We can’t really open a show at the moment, but thought it would be lovely to show the work for people passing by,” she said. “The idea is to celebrate survival and creativity as a panacea – something a bit jolly and hopeful after such a long period.”
During lockdown, Hillary has kept busy with her own painting, producing pieces for Auckland galleries and her own solo show, which is planned to coincide with the Mahurangi Artists Trail, itself postponed to next Waitangi weekend.
She has also repainted the gallery and is there most days to receive artworks and generally brighten the place up.
However, as for so many businesses, it hasn’t been easy to keep going without regular income. Hillary said it had only been possible thanks to funding assistance from Creative Communities and Auckland Council, as well as support from locals Dame Trelise and Jack Cooper, which had made a huge difference.
Hillary will be resuming children’s and adult art classes on Saturdays and after school just as soon as levels allow, as well as Wednesday evening knitting sessions for phase two of Foundation’s Snugleigh community scarf project.
Hillary is also hoping to run A Bird & A Box Christmas show in association with Pest Free Leigh, and has an extensive programme focusing on the elements planned for next year, starting with water.