The Central

Leading Christchurch gallerist Jonathan Smart has opened a new exhibition and selling gallery in the historic Arts Centre Library building that has just turned 100.

Known as The Central, the gallery features work by leading contemporary New Zealand artists, displayed sympathetically in order to celebrate the Library’s unique character.

Jonathan has run and operated the Jonathan Smart Gallery (JSG) in the city since 1987. The Central is a joint project between him and four other local families, all who experienced Canterbury’s earthquakes and are passionate about the regeneration of Christchurch’s community.

“As art lovers, we recognise the need to bring contemporary art back into the centre of the city,” Jonathan says.

“The space we want to create will have the same ethic as the JSG, in that it will be dedicated to the exhibition of top-drawer, contemporary visual art, ranging from painting and photography to sculpture and moving image work.

“However, it will have a different style and will present a wider range of art to the people of Christchurch.”

Completed in 1916, the Library building was designed by Collins and Harman and its design influenced by well-known architect, Samuel Hurst Seager.

Following the Canterbury earthquakes, it was completely restored, including strengthening that is hidden beneath its heritage fabric. The Library now features state-of-the-art infrastructure such as a new lift, central heating, data and modern lighting – all of which are sympathetic to historic features that include tudor gothic arched windows and an elaborate wooden ceiling.

Read the full media release.

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

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