"When you visit our Gallery, you will find this is a place for you no matter who you are and where you are from"
We feel very fortunate to be a partner of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki we work closely with them on how we can support their Young Members programme, a space created for younger art enthusiasts to connect and enjoy art in a fun and relaxed way. Engaging with art, ideas and each other in a space with no barriers, and no rules.
Hedda and Paola, who both do amazing work managing memberships at Auckland Art Gallery talk to us about the work they do, their daily rituals and community.
What do you love the most about your work? What drives you?
Paola: Working with such talented people. Making connections with colleagues and the public about art and our collection is one of my favourite aspects of my work. I am constantly learning every day and grateful to be a part of something so rewarding.
Hedda: I like to consider art as an invitation to think, play and connect. I hope that, on a good day, we manage to extend that invitation to gallery members in a meaningful way. Also: the privilege to sing waiata with colleagues in empty galleries before opening hours, and working with super smart and crazy dedicated people.
Tell us about what a day in the life is like for you! How does your day usually begin and end? Any rituals?
Paola: Every day I try to make sure that I have engaged with at least one of our exhibitions or one artwork. I am promised something I have never noticed before. It is also very important to me to find out news in the local and international art world. In the evenings, before I sleep, I write in my journal to reflect, relax and ground myself.
Hedda: Every day starts with my toddler pulling at my face saying ‘mama uppies!!’, followed by my husband’s rocket fuel brew diluted with hot water to avoid a heart attack. After my e-bike ride into work I feel both relaxed and energised for the workday, which is usually a good mix of organising stuff, creative thinking, meeting cool people and hosting events. Home again I like to cook with homegrown veg, and dinner must end with chocolate. Book, telly, yoga or an after-dinner walk are all good winding down options.
We love what you’ve done with the young member's events, what is the purpose of these events?
Paola: Our Young Members programme is to diversify the membership audience, by connecting younger art enthusiasts to create a space they can meet peers and focus more on the contemporary art scene. We hope that by doing this, we can build long-lasting relationships through art and ideas. Hedda: With YM events we hope to create a social space to enjoy art in a fun & chill way – no knowledge required, no barriers, no rules. Although please don’t touch the artworks!
What’s next for young members, can you share anything?
Paola: Interviewing contemporary artists about what gives them inspiration, how they work and what they look forward to with their practice. I look forward to exciting events programmed for this year.
Hedda: We are planning a campfire-style storytelling night on the terrace, a collab with PechaKucha and some friends are advocating for a Young Members ball… thoughts??
"Art for all"
If you had to describe Auckland Art Gallery in three words, what would those words be?
Paola: Awe, inspiration, education
Hedda: Art for all
Auckland Art Gallery does a lot of work to enrich its community through art and ideas, what do you think has created such a strong community?
Paola: We are here to let people experience engaging and meaningful works of art, in all its many wondrous forms. What we share with the community can be life-changing!
Hedda: A lot comes down to the integrity and kindness of our staff. So much work goes into ensuring we are meeting the needs of different audience groups, from tamariki to the elderly, first-time visitor to art buffs. Art can be considered elitist, but I think that when you visit our Gallery, you will find this is a place for you no matter who you are and where you are from, and that makes people want to come back.