About Public Programmes
What we do:
Gus Fisher Gallery aims to deliver public programmes that are meaningful cultural experiences for audiences. Aiming to engage new and existing audiences through a wide range of dynamic activities, these programmes respond to and are in dialogue with exhibitions that are ambitious, boldly-curated and socially relevant.
Since its reopening in April 2019 as a leading centre for contemporary art in Tāmaki Makaurau, Gus Fisher Gallery’s renewed curatorial vision has elevated the role of public programmes. Our exhibitions and public programmes go hand in hand and are there to bring people together through discussion, enjoyment and active participation. Our belief is that art is and should be for everyone, and that through the gallery’s offerings we can allow audiences to engage with critical contemporary art exhibitions no matter their background or education. With past exhibitions covering topics such as pollution, borders and migration, queer identities, and life under capitalism, our public programmes are equally as diverse. We hold artist talks and panel discussions alongside film screenings, poetry and performance events, and practical workshops for attendees wanting to explore arts and crafts in a relaxed and fun environment. Additionally, we hold regular activities tailored for kids and families wanting to engage with art.
Why we do it:
We acknowledge the gallery space as one that can offer many things—discussion and dialogue, learning, recreation and respite, and social interaction. Our public programmes provide entry points to the gallery as a space for audience interaction and foregrounds accessibility to the arts.
A combined exhibition and public programming rationale is also an important means of bringing community-led initiatives to the fore and a way for Gus Fisher Gallery to meaningfully contribute to wider public dialogue on key issues. We are always looking to partner with like-minded collaborators as shown with our partnership with the NZ AIDS Foundation for our 2020 exhibition Queer Algorithms. This exhibition and extensive public programme was, for us and the many participants, a stand-out moment for the gallery and one that demonstrated just how valuable socially-responsive and engagement-led activities can be.
How we support our creative communities:
Our public programmes support artists and creative practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds and career levels to develop events as well as engage new audiences with their artwork. Hands-on public workshops hosted by leading practitioners have enabled active engagement with art making skills pertinent to their practice. As part of the exhibition From our Beautiful Square, artist Salome Tanuvasa offered attendees an opportunity to gain an insight into her process of painting and mark-making with participants gaining inspiration from the artist and her newly commissioned artworks on the gallery’s walls. Jeremy Leatinu’u’s “open studio” invited conversation and participation during the process of making as part of an evolving sculptural project titled Building monuments and folding forts upon a slippery ocean and a moving sky (2021) with audiences able to watch his artworks take shape in real time.
Through our public programmes, we offer opportunities for emerging artists to experiment with new settings and ideas with a dedicated remit to help practitioners shape and successfully realise their projects. As part of the 2021 exhibition Happiness is only real when shared, emerging artist Jing Zhao created an online participatory event called Good Morning! Good Morning! which featured a custom messaging service inspired by major Chinese online shopping website TaoBao. These daily upbeat and surreal text messages proved a hit with audiences and enabled Jing to test out a project of this kind in a public sphere for the first time.
The public programme also provides specific opportunities for artists exhibiting in the gallery’s site-specific space The Booth to conceive an affiliated event that connects with their exhibiting artwork. This has seen a range of exciting activities, including artist Zheng Nuanzhi’s performance as imaginary TV interview host Jimmy Applause and Vanessa Crofskey & Kimmi Rindel’s activation Proportunity which offered the public a chance to get professional headshots with a difference through their satirical collective Wellbeing Analysis Techniques Limited.
Get involved–we are here for you!
Alongside these unique offerings, we also provide some regularly scheduled events. The gallery’s Kete Aronui Book Club invites guests to discuss a book or text pertinent to our exhibitions, with previous hosts including artists Deborah Rundle and Joyce Campbell as well as art writer and journalist Sam Gaskin. We hold frequent artist and curator-led tours and are available to take custom bookings for your school or group. For our younger art lovers, we host regular story times for kids kindly sponsored by our friends on High Street, Unity Books.
Our inner city location at 74 Shortland Street means we are in close proximity to other art institutions like Auckland Art Gallery, as well as popular dining and shopping spots in Britomart, making it a convenient cultural destination in Tāmaki Makaurau’s CBD.
We aim to make Gus Fisher Gallery a welcoming space for everyone. We are passionate about art and exhibition making and our suite of public programmes is one way we believe we can make meaningful connections and impact on our community and its members.