Guide to Wellington’s Hidden Art Galleries
The perfect accompaniment to any decent “you can’t beat Wellington on a good day” day, hit the cobbled streets and take a look around some of these incredible art spaces around the CBD
Words by: Zack Holmes
Residents and visitors to the capital are absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to the arts and culture experience—after all, it’s one of the things Wellington is renowned for. But with so many options bombarding you at every turn, it can be hard to know where to begin once you’ve done your dash at the big names like Te Papa and The Dowse. For something a little bit different, a ‘gallery crawl’ might look good on your agenda the next time you have a weekend off, and you can spend time browsing the countless small and hidden galleries in between coffee and food stops.
Enjoy Contemporary Art Space
211 Left Bank, Cuba Street, Wellington
Nestled within the vibrant Cuba Street precinct, this bright and clean contemporary gallery has character aplenty, with a welcoming atmosphere suitable for art aficionados and casual perusers alike. With a regularly rotating schedule of work by emerging and established artists on display, you will always find something new and exciting to draw you in at Enjoy that will keep you coming back for more.
Jhana Millers Gallery
Level 1, Mibar Building, 85 Victoria Street, Wellington
Head upstairs to the first floor of the iconic heritage Mibar Building on Victoria Street and you’ll find yourself in a light-filled space with concrete floors and ceilings, showcasing the work of a curated selection of mostly local contemporary artists. Gallerist Jhana’s keen eye has led to a roster of must-see exhibitions which makes this a perfect starting point for any gallery crawl.
Level 2, 22 Garrett Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Mossman Gallery is a work of art in itself, with one of the cleanest exhibition spaces in the business. Every show is carefully considered and each installation is as beautiful as the last, with a variety of disciplines on display from sculpture to photography. Situated just off Cuba and round the corner from any number of top notch eateries and bars, this is the perfect place to top off your weekend wanderings around the city.
19 Allen Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Kura Gallery features traditional and contemporary Māori and New Zealand made art and design. Founded in 1998, everything from paintings and carvings to weaving, greenstone and even furniture can be found at their central Allen Street location. Their extensive range of quality pieces are authentic and original, and they also operate as a licensed stockist for ‘Toi Iho’, the mark of authenticity and quality for Māori arts and crafts.
Bartley + Company Art
56A Ghuznee Street, Wellington
Situated in what has to be one of the coolest buildings in the capital, Bartley + Company Art opened in Ghuznee Street back in 2009. Based around the ethos that “any gallery is only as good as the company it keeps”, the gallery features high quality and critically-relevant works across a wide range of media by emerging and established contemporary artists. A stimulating and downright beautiful art space well worth your time.
147 Cuba Street, Wellington
Founded in his Terrace flat in 1966, Peter McLeavey started dealing contemporary New Zealand art with a phone call and a newspaper ad in the Evening Post. Since ‘68, the gallery has sat in its current spot on Cuba and has held more than 560 exhibitions in that time. With all manner of traditional and modern art spending time in the space, you can never quite be sure just what you’re going to see when you stop in—but you always know it’s gonna be good.
35b at Precinct 35
35 Ghuznee Street, Wellington
This fun spot is undoubtedly one of the more ‘hidden’ galleries on this list. Tucked neatly away at the back of the popular Precinct 35 store, 35b is a charming space featuring the work of emerging and established contemporary artists. The perfect location to peruse after a strong flat white from one of the neighbouring cafes, it’s your one stop shop for artwork and homewares and it won’t be easy to leave empty-handed.
42 Victoria Street, Wellington
Without a doubt one of the best in the city, Page Galleries is a contemporary art dealership in the heart of Wellington. Representing leading contemporary artists such as Dick Frizzell, Sarah Munro, Ngataiharuru Taepa and many others, the scope and scale of the works on display makes this a must on your gallery tour. Marcia Page opened her first gallery in 1987, and today maintains a strong focus on the secondary market, with resales of significant works by artists including Pat Hanly, Rita Angus and Colin McCahon to name just a few.
218c Willis Street, Te Aro, Wellington
More than an art gallery, Solander takes its name from Swedish botanist Daniel Solander and focuses on collectable contemporary artists specializing in works on paper. Exhibiting a mix of leading New Zealand and international artists, their collection boasts some of the most desirable works on paper in the region. Solander are also specialists in framing, art consultation and global freight of your precious artworks—so you can stop by, browse and buy with peace of mind.
39 Ghuznee Street, Wellington
Right in the thick of it down on Ghuznee Street, Bowen Galleries have a holistic focus on meeting the needs of professional artists and have been assisting them in their work for over 25 years. With strong trans-Tasman connections and colleagues in Sydney and Melbourne, they keep significant works by their gallery artists in stock year-round. If you don’t have time for a full walk-through, make sure to check out the popular window gallery next time you are walking or driving by.
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