Friday, 6 October 2017

Rotorua Arts: a brief history 1946-1980

The Beginning for Rotorua Artists 

Rotorua Society of Arts 1946-1980.
Formed by Dr W. S. Wallis in October 1946 – Excerpt from report by Debbie Glasgow for the Community Arts Council, Aut., 1985.

Foundation member’s held meetings in private homes at first to discuss and assess their latest work.  Then in the Occupational Therapy room at Queen Elizabeth Hospital where Dr Wallis was the Medical Superintendent at the time. Exhibitions were held annually and displayed in the old St Luke’s Hall, the Ritz Hall and St John's Hall etc.

They also held outdoor exhibitions on Fenton Street around the P.R.O on wire netting fences.
Art festivals were held 1966, 1967, 1975, 1976 & 1978.

After Doctor Wallis died in 1957, the group held together and continued to stage annual exhibitions until 1980, when they were forced into recess due to a lack of active support.  The collection of 58 paintings, held by the group was gifted to the New Rotorua Art Gallery in the Tudor Towers north wing.

Other events run by the Rotorua Arts Society:
Arts Ball 1963-1965 in Rotorua Photo News 14th Dec 1963, pg. 37-39 ; 1st August 1964 pg.13-15 & 5th July 1965, pg. 24-25.

Annual Arts Ball in Rotorua Photo News 14th Dec 1963, pg.38
Photographer Michael Burton

Weekend Art Class in Rotorua Photo News, 5th Jul 1969, p.24-25, and Rotorua Arts Society Competition – Winner 27th Sept 1969 pg. 68.

Other Arts & Artists: see Chronological order in Don Stafford’s 'Arts' folder.  
  • Rotorua's first private art gallery; 'Scholes' at Whakarewarewa opened by the Director of the Auckland Art Gallery, Mr Peter Tomery, in Daily Post  23.2.1963 
  • Public Library held art exhibitions also. In Daily Post 13.11.1959 - Italian art & books ;   Daily Post 31.8.1965 - Children's art competition.
  • New art group 'Studio One' formed for those under 26 yrs, in Daily Post 13.4.1966
  • Rotorua Arts & Crafts Club formed, in Daily Post 25.6.1975 p.22
  • Official opening of the new Art Gallery in Tudor Towers, in Daily Post 12.10.1977; John Perry appointed as Curator 5.9.1978. See the Daily Post index on the Rotorua Library online Catalogue.
  • Rotorua District Community Arts Council formed, in Daily Post 6.7.1978           
Sources: Don Stafford File: Arts pg. 1-3, 1946, 1949, 1964 (1 & 4), 1966, 1967(3), 1973 & 1980. Doctor W. S. Wallis - Events 1957(1) and BIO W7-8e which contains his Obituary & articles from Art NZ v.13, 1979, p. 36-39 and v. 22 Summer 1981/2, p.34-35 by M.N. Day.

Daughter:  Mrs Ynys Fraser – NZ Herald 5th June 1987 – exhibition of Dr Wallis’s work at Rotorua Art Gallery.                                                                                                                                                                                     
More information about Dr Wallis can be found in Don Stafford’s Folders - Medical 69; Town 204-5; and War 1945(1).

Rotorua Photo News 1963-1969, Arts Ball.  

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