Gallery backs down over show ticket price

By Josie McNaught

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

One of New Zealand's most prestigious art galleries has been forced to halve the ticket price to an exhibition of Polynesian art, after a Herald on Sunday investigation.

The show at the Auckland Art Gallery, titled Home AKL, received $30,000 of taxpayer funding on the basis of tickets being just $5.

However, when the gallery announced in May the exhibition, it said tickets for anyone over 14 would be $10.

But members of the Polynesian community will stage a protest outside Auckland Art Gallery next weekend as they believe there should be no charges to see the first major exhibition of contemporary Pacific art, which opens in July.

Efeso Collins says the Advance Pasifika march in Auckland on June 16 will highlight issues facing Pacific people.

The route will go past the gallery and protest against the charge that he says makes it almost impossible for a low income family to access and support Pacific artists.

"For the people who set this charge, that might be normal. But for most of our people, that's what they earn in an hour, if that."

National funding body Creative NZ called the art gallery to a meeting this week after the Herald on Sunday queried the charge.

Director Chris Saines accepts that it was clear on the grant application that admission would be $5.

"While we later sought to increase that charge, I accept that was inconsistent with the terms of our funding agreement. The adult charge will be restored at $5."

A Tautai Pacific Arts Trust spokesperson, Christina Jeffery, said they were disappointed about the charge because it was the first group showing of artists with Pacific heritage that Auckland Art Gallery had had since 1994.

The gallery is owned by the Regional Facilities Auckland charitable trust so cannot trade as a profit-making business.

- Herald on Sunday

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