On a sunny Thursday morning in October a group of Friends enjoyed an inspiring visit to the galleries and studios in the former RNZAF complex at Shelly Bay.

We were warmly greeted by Jane and Juliet, who co-own the Blackmore & Best Art Gallery at the water’s edge, and treated to a glass of bubbles and orange juice – a welcome early morning touch.

This is a working gallery and we were able to see the artists’ work and the beautiful space where they create it. We heard about their vision of combining their work with running and owning a successful gallery. Juliet shared with us how her working experience at Te Papa had informed her art and Jane told us about the emotional challenges her art presents, both for herself as an artist and for the viewer. We felt very privileged to share this time with these two talented people.

Housed behind the gallery in the old RNZAF hospital building are the Bayview Studios where the variety of art and craft presented is amazing. It is such a great experience to meet the artists in their studios and to explore the creativity present in our city. We were a big group, so the visit to Bayview Studios was interspersed with coffee and goodies at the iconic Chocolate Fish Café.

Friends have told us how much they enjoy these visits to small galleries. That the trips are oversubscribed is testament to their popularity.

Next year we plan to have a regular programme of visits, giving you the opportunity to be hosted at intimate galleries in and around Wellington. Watch our website and monthly newsletters for further information.

Feature image : Artists Jane Blackmore and Juliet Best at their Blackmore & Best Gallery and Studio, Shelly Bay