The Terraces

Galleries and museum key icon.
Galleries and museum key icon.

13 Wansbeck Street, South Hill, Oamaru

027 504 4328

When local Kevin Murdoch got his hands on The Terraces heritage building there were holes in the ceilings, vines in the loo and lots of resident wildlife. You’d never suspect this though as the space has been so lovingly restored and re-animated. Now it’s something of a gallery, studio, hang out spot and unofficial visitors’ centre all rolled into one. Here Kevin and long time friend, Al Bell, both also have their own art on display and their own studio setups.

First and foremost, The Terraces Art Gallery is just that, a showcase for these talented artists’ work. Kevin focuses on oil paintings and Al does printmaking. Their work is hung throughout and highlights some of the region’s best attributes through two very different mediums. Kevin’s paintings depict the Waitaki’s rugged peaks, stunning coastline and shimmery lakes with gestural brushstrokes while Al’s prints use sharp, detailed lines and embossment to capture the different textures seen in the area’s flora and fauna. The Terraces also functions as their studio spaces.

Kevin and Al have their own creative processes and styles. Even so, you’ll probably find them working alongside one another chatting away whenever you happen to visit. Soon enough, they’ll be chatting to you, too. While the gallery doesn’t keep very traditional hours, the door is always open to visitors if the artists are about, so do pop in for a chat and a look-see. You’ll get a rundown of their work, plus insider tips on what to do and see while you’re in Ōamaru. 

While art is a big focus here, bits of Ōamaru's history are also on display. As the proprietors will tell you, the building itself is 138 years old, was once a saddlery, then a boarding house and now also operates as a museum, man cave and overall hang out. Alongside Kevin and Al’s art, you’ll also find relics from the region’s past, which have Kevin has carefully collected and displayed. Come for the art and stay for the chats, there’s a lot to learn about here.

Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Nancy Zhou

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13 Wansbeck Street, South Hill, Oamaru

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