Insights from history and art were brought together in our September local gallery visit to Petone. At Artspace Gallery, owner Alfred Memelink introduced us to a new exhibition of 30 paintings by Alan Collins depicting scenes from Pencarrow to Kapiti. Alfred said he has always regarded Collins as one of the country’s foremost watercolour artists, whose work depicts sunlight sparkling on the water, soft billowing clouds and jewel-like colours. Alan’s work gives a fresh perspective on views you are already familiar with. Our visit coincided with that of a TVNZ film crew and the 90 year old artist regaled us all with his tales of persistence in the face of all sorts of weather, passing traffic and challenging vantage points. All this in order to capture that special moment that inspires a successful painting.
After morning tea at Artspace we went to the newly refurbished Petone Settlers’ Museum. First opened on 22 January 1940 as the Wellington Provincial Centennial Memorial, the building first served as a bathing pavilion and became the heart of Petone’s thriving beach scene. Memorabilia from that time are on display in the museum along with many other exhibits. These include the real story of Jackson Street and Patrick Street and a glimpse of the fabrics and fancies on sale at Carey’s Drapery in 1954. Also to be admired is the glamour of Miss Hutt Valley 1968 and the raw determination of Petone’s sporting champions.