Tauranga's art scene is booming with galleries reporting a jump in exhibition and visitor numbers, with one adding new buildings to cope with demand.

The Incubator Creative Hub director Simone Anderson said it was adding two new buildings to allow more studio spaces at the Creative Hub.

''They are in hot demand at the moment.''

It planned to use one as a Jam Factory music venue and was in collaboration with the Tauranga Art Gallery for a national/international artist in residency studio.


''This is timely as our music is taking off with regular gigs booked until March.''

Anderson said it had already booked 14 exhibitions into the People's Gallery -Toi ka, which opened only last year, and 14 into the Incubator Galley so far this year.

In 2017 it won the Supreme Trustpower Community award and the Tauranga regional award for Arts and Culture.

It was a hugely successful and intensely busy year, she said, with projects including 12 exhibitions, 200 art education classes and the Twelve days of Christmas Trees Community project.

Considering the gallery runs on 100 per cent on a volunteer workforce ''you couldn't get more skin in the game'', she said.

''We are determined to provide this service and the overwhelmingly positive response has already demonstrated the tangible need for such a facility.''

Figures show that, since it opened four years ago, The Incubator had delivered 245 diverse events, 70 fringe music events, 50 exhibitions and had 1000 volunteers that had put in 48,000 volunteer hours.

Anderson said only 11 per cent of its operating costs were funded with help from TECT and Bay Trust.


Tauranga Art Gallery director Karl Chitham said 2018 was shaping up as a massive year with over 23 exhibitions and installations currently in development.

This month it would be launching its Art Loves You campaign, a series of three exhibitions and 14 projects focused on interactivity and visitor engagement.

It features local and New Zealand artists as well as artists from China, Hawaii, the United Kingdom and the United States.

''The projects range from virtual reality and augmented reality to video games, projections, sensory experiences, light, sound and everything in between.''

In 2017 the gallery also had an incredibly successful year in terms of visitation, positive community response and national and international media coverage, he said.

It had 86,610 visitors - the highest numbers since the gallery opened - and was named one of the top seven art galleries in New Zealand by Culture Trip following the "Paradox Inside" exhibition with one of the largest collections of Banksy works on display.

''We were also celebrating our 10th anniversary and we were able to engage and celebrate many of the inspirational local people who helped build a dedicated art gallery for Tauranga.''

The Tauranga Art Gallery was a not-for-profit, registered charity and a Tauranga City Council Controlled Organisation.

It received $990,906 in funding for the year to June 2017 from central and local government its annual report that was released in September showed. That included $913,985 from the Tauranga City Council.

Over those timeframes, the gallery spent $754,462 in wages for 23 casual, part-time and full-time positions and received an additional $242,823 in non-government grants, sponsorship and donations and $174,297 in other revenue including retail sales.

The report said the cost of providing goods and services, such as event and exhibition expenses for 2017, was $479,809.

Traffic users across its digital platforms had doubled to 43,333 compared to 21,542 and it had 10,949 young people on its gallery art education programmes, which blitzed its target of 6000.

Tauranga City Council City Transformation general manager Jaine Lovell-Gadd said the purpose of the gallery was to create exceptional art experiences that engage, inspire, challenge and educate.

''The gallery aims to be a destination for visitors and residents [and] provide opportunities for anyone to access, learn and experience visual arts ... to be a hub for multicultural experiences and audiences and operate in a sustainable manner, protecting the gallery and its collections for current and future generations.'

''It also plans to investigate innovative and alternative ways to provide art experiences to the city.''