A unique art gallery is opening its doors to the public next weekend.

Fine Arts Whanganui is an artist-run collective gallery featuring the works of 12 Wanganui artists.

Marie Grice and John Archbold from Fine Arts Whanganui said the collective came about after several of the artists took part in an exhibition at Wanganui Veterinary Services, when it was suggested to some of the artists that they start an artist-run gallery.

"We started having conversations about it and there was a lot of interest. So after this year's Open Studios the group got together and started making decisions and moving things along," Ms Grice said.


Mr Archbold said there were eight artists to begin with, and once that number had reached 12, they decided to stop.

"We were working so well together."

Fine Arts Whanganui consists of painters Marie Grice, Julie Laird, Gaynor Mulholland, Andre Bronnimann, Craig Hooker, John Archbold, and Don Hill; photographers Gail Imhoff and Alys Davidson; textile artist Pamela Lilburn; and mixed media artists Jane Toy and Pauline Allomes.

Ms Grice said once the gallery was up and running the group intends to invite guest artists to exhibit in the gallery.

"We'd like to support emerging artists and give them an opportunity to exhibit their work in a gallery."

The space is primarily for exhibiting but at times some of the artists may be working in the gallery, giving the public the chance to see an artwork being created.

Mr Archbold said the Fine Arts Whanganui collective was very unusual in New Zealand.

"We split the rent 12 ways and we have a roster for manning the shop. There will always be an artist in the shop to talk about their work and the work of the other artists.


"Commission is low because we don't have to pay wages. It's good being able to share the load."

Ms Grice said decisions were made by consensus - and, considering there were 12 different opinions to take in account, they went surprisingly smoothly.

"This is truly a collective of like-minded people who want somewhere to promote their art."

Work will be rotated regularly to keep the gallery fresh and interesting.

Ms Grice and Mr Archbold said there had been a lot of support for Fine Arts Whanganui from the Wanganui arts community in general, as well as the Wanganui District Council.

-Whanganui Fine Arts will be located at 17 Taupo Quay from November 14. Opening hours will be Tuesday to Friday and Sunday, 10am-3pm; Saturday, 9am-3pm; closed Monday. You can find the collective on Facebook www.facebook.com/fineartswhanganui.