The dodgy decisions, the lack of respect, the breaking of promises

The Star newspaper runs a ‘disturbed’ story on page one (20 Jan 2011), a not very surprising one given the DCC general manager concerned.

The Dunedin i-Site, formerly housed in the Municipal Chambers, temporarily relocated to the Community Gallery in Princes Street, is likely to stay in the Princes Street gallery space.

We remember how despicably artists and gallery users were treated by the Dunedin City Council when asked to move out of the gallery, only to be shoved into an inadequate lacklustre space of no good address in Lower Moray Place.

The Community Gallery was to be back in its former location by Easter this year.

Not so.

The general manager of Customer Services Grant Strang deserves a paint bomb, or three. It seems the siting of the Community Gallery is a bit of an afterthought. We’re not saying the Princes Street space was ideal for exhibition, indeed its proportions, scale, hanging system (out of the ark) and lighting were problematic. We’re saying the community of gallery users deserves better treatment and respect.

The mission: Strang better not rest until he finds a superior, prominently-located, professionally fitted out exhibition space for all potential users of the Community Gallery. ASAP.

A place gallery users can be proud of, a comfortable welcoming space that celebrates the people, their efforts, artistic expression and production – somewhere the Dunedin community as a whole can provide the best possible support to their activities and endeavours.

Any bright ideas, Mr Strang?

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Events, Hot air, Media, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Tourism, Urban design

5 responses to “The dodgy decisions, the lack of respect, the breaking of promises

  1. ro

    It’s not even as though I-site LIKES the community gallery space. A much better solution for an alternative space to the Municipal Chambers for I-site, is the railway station.

    What’s more, this is really a sock in the eye for the Public Art Gallery – it had to contribute that part of the DIC building to community arts. If community arts are to lose that space permanently, then it should be returned to the gallery. This is not a decision for a council employee to make – it’s a decision for the governors of the city.

  2. Richard

    Ro: sorry but you are in error re the space and its use. At the time the Gallery move was proposed, there were requests from the retail/business community for shopfronts to be retained on Princes Street. Nor did the DPAG want the conflict of two entrances. Council agreed.

    The spaces proved hard to let given the retail environment at the time. The proposal to establish a Community Gallery arose from that.

  3. Richard

    On the wider point: the i-Site has proven very popular in its ‘temporary site’; the retailers in the block and – at least – one building owner are very supportive of it remaining where it presently is. One just has to look at the ‘foot traffic’ to appreciate the reasons why.

    As for the Community Gallery, yes the temporary move to Moray Place was a ‘bad call’. Unfortunately by the time council (ie elected members) found out about it, a lease had been signed.

    As for ‘paintballs’, well do not be too precipitate. I would look for “the lamp”, gently rub it and who knows what wish might be granted.

  4. ro

    Richard: do you deny that the wing of the DIC that became the community gallery was sequestered in order to accommodate community arts? And that the decision of Council’s to do this came about in response to a community request that the city support local arts and crafts to make up for a perceived lack of support by the more professionally-focused gallery? If you don’t then stop cavilling. I certainly don’t deny that the business community wanted the DIC preserved as retail premises, if that is your point.

    Accordingly, the decision to turn this wing of the DIC permanently into I-site satisfies neither interest and shouldn’t be a matter for the council employees to dictate. It is something that concerns us all and should be decided by Council. Do you disagree with this?

  5. Richard

    Point 1: Yes.

    Point 2: Yes, with the qualification that I was not on council when that decision was made to use ‘unrentable retail space’ for a community gallery was made.

    Essentially, the Princes Street frontage was never going to be part of the DPAG.

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