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In addition to galleries, retail spaces, cinema and performance, the Arts Centre is a working site for artists and groups, offering spaces for workshops, exhibitions and residencies.  

Programmes and partnerships manager, Chris Archer says that the Arts Centre is now thinking sustainably about an annual programme that can also publicly brand the organisation.  This extends to being a facility for active community engagement in the arts. Curator of programmes and events, Hannah Wilson maintains that this is fundamental to the diversity of its offerings.  ‘In addition to running exhibitions and performances the Arts Centre also provides community spaces.  The restored Canterbury College School of Art’s building (1877) is now the “Maker Workshop.”

‘The cost to hire the Maker Workshop is set low to encourage creative activity.  It is a large workshop space with tables and easels that people can use, and also a sink with paint separator, but it is not necessarily limited to visual arts activities, anybody can hire it.’ 

Archer says that the Arts Centre is also seeking expressions of interest from tutors who may wish to be involved in providing a creative workshop series.  ‘We are hoping that as we build a programme it might be part of establishing an advisory group from those tutors, so that it is owned by the community, rather than us.  Over the next few months, apart from the launch, the school holiday programme will spearhead it.  At the moment the Maker Workshop is holding life drawing classes, felt-making and sketch classes.’

Wilson also highlights the potential of the recently opened creative residency spaces. ‘Four private rooms with unsuited bathrooms, and shared living spaces - We are working on ways of collaborating with arts organisations to utilise them, talking with partners about creative residencies. They are available for short stays for two nights or more for creatives travelling from out of town’

The restoration of an upstairs space, Pūmanawa, for exhibitions, in what was once part of the Boys High building is also available to artists and community groups.  ‘It is a large gallery space that people can hire on a weekly basis for exhibitions.’  

‘We are really interested in building partnerships and relations with organisations and individuals.  We are open for business and want to hear from people.  If they have an idea to talk through a project with us that might be possible on site, they should get in touch.’

The Maker Workshop: $70 plus GST a day, and Pūmanawa gallery: $300 plus GST per week.  Email:  



  1. Exhibition opening, August 2017, Pūmanawa Community Exhibition Space, upstairs in the old Boys High Building, Arts Centre

Working Spaces for Artists for Hire, The Arts Centre Te matariki Toi Ora

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