Community Art Centre
The Old Library Limited was set up as a Charitable Company in 2009. It was created as a separate entity from the then newly formed Culture Heritage Arts Resource Trust (C.H.A.R.T) to represent and have dialogue with the Northland Arts Sector. C.H.A.R.T was the only shareholder of the Old Library.
The intention of the relationship was to support Old Library towards being ‘independent’ and to encourage the Directors of the Old Library to create an entrepreneurial business plan which would balance the needs and desires of the community arts groups with enough commercial sense to develop contracts with other sponsors and businesses to partially fund the community centre’s activities which could be supplemented with grants, donations and potentially memberships.
The company has its own governance board, managers and staff. It took lease of the building from the Whangarei District Council in January 2010, charged with the task of operating Whangarei’s only community art centre. In early 2009, the Board then Arts Promotion Trust, planned to secure the 1930s historical building, formerly the Whangārei Public Library on Rust Avenue, which is owned by the Whangārei District Council as a Community Centre, with a ten year lease agreement (1st December 2009 to 1st December 2019) for the purposes of running the Community Art Centre.
Despite challenges and the ‘fatigued’ condition of the Old Library, the space continues to enjoy goodwill from the community with a diverse range of activities taking place. As a community venue, the Old library audience can be; photographic shoots to art classes, music recitals to theatre performances, boutique community events from the book launches to community meetings, round table discussions and tenants.
On the 12th of November 2011, marked the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Old Library building, the formal opening of the Arts Centre and the second anniversary of the Old Library Ltd. Old Library was operating as a semi-independent entity since 5th January 2010. During that time, they have been heavily relied on C.H.A.R.T for operational support, while they have succeeded in running a vital and exciting programme of events such as:
- Theatre productions
- Arts & Cultural Events
- Lunch time concerts
- Education programmes
- Music concerts
- Regular classes
- Casual hire
- Private/Work meetings
- Private functions
- Community events
- Rental and grants contributions
Funds from C.H.A.R.T enabled The Old Library to renovate the old icebox, creating offices and workspace. This work is incomplete as they envisage improving toilets; kitchen and office space as funding becomes available. They have also widened their support base through a number of activities, and has a group of very enthusiastic supporters within FoOL, while also having committed sponsors and businesses supporters outside of C.H.A.R.T.
Key Sponsor Groups:
Griffiths and Associates
Henderson Reeves Connell Rishworth
Cato Bolam Consultants
Building and Fire Services
Big Fish Creative
Arts Promotion Trust Northland
Northland Craft Trust (Quarry)
Bogwood Theatre Company
Whangarei Ukulele Orchestra
Whangarei Music Society
Whangarei Youth Music
Northland Society of Authors
Northland Society of Arts
Pohutukawa Theatre Company
Northland Youth Theatre
The Old Library Community Arts Centre housed a myriad of spaces in which the community can experience art in all its forms.
- Northland Youth Theatre workshops
- A production Flax weaving classes
- A music group for pre schoolers
- Music lessons – weekly Ukele group
- Mid-day Madness – a series of lunchtime concerts every Wednesday
- Art exhibitions (schools, community and professional levels)
- Launches (eg, Tiaho Trust, WDC booklet for tourists with disabilities)
- Dutch language classes
- Professional theatre company plays (Yours truly, The Pohutukawa Theatre Company)
- Offices of the Arts Promotion Trust (Northland
The Old Library was a permanent home to The Northland writer’s group, music library of Youth Music, Northland sinfonia, Amorangi Hikuroa and clay sculptor in residence. Arts Promotion Trust managed the costs by working with artists and community groups spaces at appropriate rates. Charges for the use of these spaces were kept at an affordable level and according to the various groups’ ability to pay.
The Kaupapa of the building for users and visitors were to support community development and to foster community awareness, spirit and creativity through arts. It was also to support arts development through continuously changing opportunities, viewing arts at all levels including work from school children and the work of professionals.
The Old Library contributes a unique and complementary offering to the visitor offering in the Whangarei region being part of the supply chain of arts and events. As an iconic heritage building, the Old Library is uniquely one of the only building of its kind in the district and potentially regional.
The Old Library - Vision:
Achievements and Successes:
The Arts Promotion Trust became C.H.A.R.T as at 1st July 2010 and adopted a new Trust deed. A new CEO, CHART office space development with signage, engaging key stakeholders, connecting with Tangata whenua, KPI’s, policies and procedures were established, along with advisory group development, membership and affiliation model development, website development and AGM – Always Gathering Momentum.
Both ArtBeat and the Sculpture Symposium at the Town Basin were very successful events.
12th November 2011 marks the 75th anniversary of this Category || Historic Place Trust building. The Old Library Limited had a party on 11th November 2011, culminating in the blowing out of the candles at midnight. This was a great opportunity to be in at the front of these celebrations that are certain to become a focal point for Whangarei’s art and business sectors.