"From a small acorn, great things will grow."

Rhonda Bunyan, director of the Percy Thomson Gallery, says the opening of Percy's Place, a boutique retail art store adjoining the gallery, is not only helping grow the area as an arts and culture hub, but will also help local artists extend their reach.

Buying a piece of art from here isn't just about gaining an item of beauty for your home, but is also about supporting local artists.

"Prospero Place now houses the gallery itself, the library, a lovely coffee shop, the i-SITE and now this wonderful shop. They all complement each other beautifully."

Rhonda says the art for sale in Percy's Place is all from Taranaki based artists, "so buying a piece of art from here isn't just about gaining an item of beauty for your home, but is also about supporting local artists continue to produce fantastic work".

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The shop doesn't just contain items for your walls or tables, the artwork includes jewellery, clothing and accessories and even furniture.

"Art isn't just painting, and in Taranaki we are privileged to have so many wonderful artists who produce such a wide variety of work."

Every piece of art currently in Percy's Place was handpicked by Rhonda in readiness for the opening last Thursday evening.

"I wanted some very specific pieces. I approached artists who I knew had a good range of work, or who had a particular style that would suit the shop. Being a retail store, it was important to get a range of items, both in style and pricing. It had to be more than simply paintings on walls."

The end result is a shop which is full of tantalising pieces just begging to be bought and given a new home, with several items ending up marked "sold" within the first hour of opening.

"As pieces sell we will be sourcing new items, so I am continuing to approach artists and to keep my eye out for fresh talent," says Rhonda.

She says Percy Thomson trustees have been "very supportive" of this new venture, and all feedback received so far has been positive.

"People are really excited to see us open the store, and have been full of praise for the standard and range of work on offer."

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With artists themselves among the team of volunteer "store sitters", shoppers have a chance to sometimes talk directly to the person who created the piece they are purchasing.

"We are asking for more volunteers to help support us by manning the shop for us, you need no experience, just a love of beautiful things and art."

Percy's Place: Located next door to the Percy Thomson Gallery, Prospero Place.