Double anniversary for arts council

by Kent Caddick

Planning is well underway for the Malvern Community Arts Council to celebrate two significant milestones this year.

This year will be the 40th anniversary of the founding of the community arts council while the Selwyn Art Gallery in Darfield, which the MCAC founded, turns 20.

MCAC chair, Philip Baldwin, said marking any significant anniversary of a community organisation is a fortunate experience for its members.

“Having two such anniversaries to celebrate in one year is most remarkable,” he said.

“Not only are we celebrating the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Selwyn Gallery on May 29, 1998, but also the 40th year since the inception of the Malvern Community Arts Council by a visionary steering committee of people interested in promoting the arts in Selwyn.

“We all owe a debt of thanks to the original steering committee for laying the initial groundwork for MCAC when they first met officially on February 8, 1978.”

That original steering committee comprised of Moreen Eason, Barbara Vincent, Elisabeth Blackburn, Noelene Pearson, the Rev. Hugh Patterson, and Stuart Martin.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary year, the Selwyn Gallery committee, led by Meg Morten, has planned several exhibitions to reflect some of Selwyn Gallery’s history.

“In June we are very pleased and grateful to have the artists from our very first exhibition — Simon Edwards, Mike Glover, Svetlana Orinko, Marcia Scott, Pattison Parkin, and Hamish Wright — show their high calibre art work and let us see how their styles have evolved over the past 20 years”, Mr Baldwin said. The July exhibition will feature works by a group of former Year 13 students who exhibited at the gallery in 2004. 

“This exceptional group of young women have moved on to diverse careers in teaching, in the arts and in their communities, while raising young families and continuing to grow as artists,” Gallery chairperson Meg Morten said.

However, Phillip Baldwin said while it is great to celebrate its 40th anniversary, the MCAC faces some challenges as well.

“The heart of the arts council and the gallery is the enthusiasm and participation of our small army of volunteers.

Darfield Artweek run by the Malvern Community Arts Council is the 
highlight of the year for many art lovers in Selwyn

“They are involved with hanging the gallery’s monthly exhibitions, keeping the Selwyn Gallery open from day to day, organising concerts, and doing all the jobs which make Darfield Artweek an annual success.

“We are always looking for people who are interested in the arts to join our team. The Malvern Community Arts Council will hold its AGM in mid-April, and we are particularly interested in finding one or two more people to  join the executive committee,” Mr Baldwin said.

Several other events are being planned to celebrate the MCAC’s double anniversary year.

A gala celebration evening is presently in the planning stages for June at the Darfield Rec Centre, while the Performing Arts committee has engaged artists for two concerts this year.

The first one in April will feature Olive Copperbottom, Penny Ashton’s musical comedy created from the works of Charles Dickens. The second in September showcases Christchurch Symphony Orchestra harpist Helen Webby in an intimate setting at the Selwyn Gallery.

Anyone interested in supporting or joining the Malvern Community Arts Council as a volunteer can contact Philip Baldwin on 022 637 5296.