The Arts Centre is an iconic landmark, a precious taonga in Christchurch. After being extensively damaged during the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, the stunning Gothic Revival style centre which dates back to 1877 is slowly being brought back to life through a massive $290m post-earthquake restoration programme and the team at the Arts Centre are restoring memories to pave the way for new experiences with culture, creativity and education. As you might imagine, all this change is bringing a lot of excitement with it.
Excitement in the form of:
– From Ancient Greece to Contemporary New Zealand Art and artisan craft – you can visit the Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities, the Central Art Gallery, the Pūmanawa community exhibition space which has rotating art, heritage and social science exhibitions. Take a sneak peak at rehearsals underway in the Common Room with innovative theatre company Two Productions.
– Food and drink venues such as Bunsen cafe, the Curator’s Deli, Zen Sushi & Dumplings, Fudge Cottage and The Rolling Om.
– Rutherford’s Den – a hands on interactive science learning space which is the actual rooms where Nobel prize-winning scientist Ernest, Lord Rutherford studied.
– Public spaces such as the Great Hall and North and South Quadrangles which are open to the public following their respective restorations and feature public art thanks to SCAPE.
– A growing dynamic events programme that includes markets and carnivals, outdoor summer cinemas, lunchtime concerts and workshops throughout the year (check their website for more details)
Enticing internal features aside, The Arts Centre is a great place to visit purely for a wander around to soak up some of its rich history – there are 23 separate buildings on site, of which 21 are listed by Heritage New Zealand as Historic Place Category 1 and each with their own story to tell.
The Christchurch Arts Centre is a truly special treasure for The Garden City and a must-do for all visitors and Christchurch locals.