You may have heard him giving an informative speech about the Sarjeant Gallery Redevelopment Project, seen him at one of our exhibition openings or even strolling down Victoria Ave on a sunny day, but just who is Greg Anderson?
After hearing this question asked from a number of different corners, I endeavoured to find out a bit about our charismatic leader. This week will feature part one of a two-part story on Greg Anderson and his role as senior curator at the Sarjeant Gallery.
Born in 1972 and coming originally from Auckland, Greg, with his wife Dee, moved to Wanganui in September 2007 to take up the lead role of senior curator at the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare O Rehua - Whanganui. The couple have made Wanganui their home and have since had a son, named Felix.
Greg studied first at Auckland University where he gained both a B.A. and an M.A. (Hons) in Art History. Beginning with the study of languages, he soon became focused on the History of Art with particular interest in philosophy, film, Renaissance Art and the work of Colin McCahon. Having completed these degrees and gaining experience in public and private galleries in Auckland, he went on to study another Master's Degree in Fine Arts Administration & Curatorship at the University of London's prestigious Goldsmiths College. Greg's previous gallery work has ranged from time spent at Artspace, Gow Langsford Gallery, managing a private gallery in London, and working at both Auckland Museum and Auckland Art Gallery. His primary area of focus at the moment is driving the Sarjeant Gallery Redevelopment Project.
Greg has now been in his role at the Sarjeant for seven years. "Ever since I was a student studying art history I've known about the Sarjeant, so I leapt at the opportunity to work here," he said when asked what attracted him to the role.
He believes this gallery is an institution unlike any other in New Zealand and unique in many ways.
"The collection the gallery houses is breathtaking, the building beautiful and the opportunities represented by working with each was irresistible."
Then, as now, he saw the wonderful potential of an institution still yet to be realised. Previous staff and directors devoted themselves to the gallery and its development, and he wishes to play a part in building on that success.
Before relocating here with his family, Greg had never been to Wanganui before but has "always been up for an adventure." He quickly learnt that Wanganui is a great place to live and work, and has been able to purchase a house here. He rates the wonderful cultural facilities, great schools and all the vibrant leisure activities as reasons Wanganui has been so easy to settle down in.
"It's easy living in this town and the arts community here has been welcoming and friendly. Artists of all kinds who call Wanganui home are a highly talented group and this is enhanced by the existence of facilities such as Quay School of the Arts, the Whanganui Regional Museum and of course our Sarjeant."
When asked what he likes to do in his spare time (a scarcity with the demands of his role) he said: "When I do have spare moments I tend to spend them with Felix. One thing I've noticed in the last seven years is just how quickly time flies, so when there are spare moments I try to make the most of them by being around as this little guy grows up."
Next Wednesday in the Chronicle, Greg Anderson will discuss the Sarjeant Gallery Redevelopment Project, currently under way.