After more than 10 years in operation, the Chronicle Glass studio and gallery has been sold.

Whanganui District Council has bought the business from owners Katie Brown and Lyndsay Patterson for $90,000 through its charitable trust Wanganui Incorporated.

The premises will reopen as a new Community Glass Facility.

The Wanganui Incorporated trust has put forward a further $60,000 to revamp and upgrade the iconic building in Rutland St and buy equipment.


The upgrade is planned to begin immediately and be finished by July.

The council is working with a developer who will buy the building and complete the upgrades before leasing it back to the council on a long-term basis. The council will then sub-let it to the Community Glass Facility.

The new facility will be available for UCOL's Bachelor of Design and Art students as well providing courses on a fee-paying basis to the public.

It will also act as a centre for the promotion of glass art by developing a gallery which will sell locally and nationally produced works.

Mayor Annette Main said the Community Glass Facility was an important step in securing the future of glass art in Whanganui. "Following the closure of the Wanganui Glass School in December 2015, we needed to do something to sustain our reputation for glass work," she said.

"The glass artists who either live in Whanganui or use it as a base contribute significantly to our arts economy. The glass art produced here is also a major attraction for tourists."

Ms Main said there was a high level of support for a Community Glass Facility after it was announced the Glass School was closing.

A group including former owner Ms Brown and representatives of the council, UCOL and Te Puna Matauranga o Whanganui will oversee the progress of the new facility and ensure a smooth handover of the business that has developed over the past 10 years.

Chronicle Glass drew people from all over the country to watch the spectacle of glass blowing, take weekend workshops or buy glass art.

The highlights for Mr Patterson included making all the glassware for Sir Peter Jackson's film The Hobbit, which took up to two years.

Ms Brown will also continue to design and create her glass pieces, which will be available to view and buy in her new space across the road from Chronicle Glass in Rutland St.

The Community Glass Facility is the final piece of the Taskforce programme initiated by the district council and UCOL in 2013 to investigate ways UCOL and the community could work together to maintain city arts and glass work.