Frizzell works help boost museum art's value to $43m

By Lawrence Gullery

A collection of 92 screen prints by well-known Hawke's Bay artist Dick Frizzell are listed among the valuable additions to the Hawke's Bay Museum Trust's regional collection made in the last financial year.

The work by Mr Frizzell was the single largest gift to the trust by a living artist, and now features as part of the regional collection that, in June, was valued at $43.850 million.

Other acquisitions during the 2011/12 financial year included a bequest from the estate of James Walker, a New Zealand architect/glass artist. It included a large stained glass artwork, 18 pieces of New Zealand studio glass and a large archive of correspondence.

Details of the development of the regional collection formed part of the trust's general manager, Genevieve Beech's annual report to the Hastings District Council on Tuesday.

The collection was in storage at the moment as renovations continued on the Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery on Marine Parade in Napier.

Hastings district and Napier city councils funded the cost of maintaining the collection to the tune of $396,200 and $381,200 respectively for the 2011/12 financial year.

The Hawke's Bay Museums Foundation, formerly the Friends of the Museum, had also contributed $66,942 towards the upkeep of the regional collection.

Ms Beech's report said the collection was recognised as being nationally significant and one which included Hawke's Bay and New Zealand social history, taonga Maori and fine arts as well as photographs, archival documents and publications.

A grant from the Eastern and Central Community Trust allowed a range of projects such as re-matting works, restoring original frames and making new frames for 106 works of art.

The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board approved money for staff to scan and catalogue the collection's photography archive.

Hastings Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers wanted to know how many of the donations and bequests to the trust were from Hastings, and the number from Napier.

"The reason I ask is not to be parochial but related to the relevance of the trust as a Hawke's Bay organisation.

"From time to time we get approached from people who have something they want looked after and we can't have collections here (Hastings) because we don't have the storage.

"So the hard thing to make people understand is the trust's relevance as a regional asset."

The trust's chairman Bruce Martin said it was "very clear" to the trust that it had to operate as a regional organisation.

"And it's clear that it is a regional collection, and we have a regional responsibility to look after it."

Mr Martin's report to the council said the trust's board intended to "pause and step back" over the next couple of months to recheck the purpose, focus and priorities of the regional collection for the next decade.

He said it would allow people connected to the collection to have a say as well as wide consultation with the public.

"Our regional collection must evolve and develop in a way that is widely supported and as a relevant and informative record of our past."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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