In the post-quake transition period the Ara Council was keen to contribute to the recovery of our community. To this end the Council sought proposals for transitional community based projects. One of these was the Artbox project which was designed to provide temporary exhibition space for Christchurch artists as well as contribute to the vibrancy of the inner city.
Ara was pleased that other contributors supported this project including the CPIT Foundation, the Christchurch City Council, the Christchurch Art Gallery, Creative NZ, F3, Firth and NZ Steel, all as major sponsors.
The original proposal was to offer temporary exhibition space for 2 years and since 2013 Ara and sponsors have created and provided the innovative exhibition space at what has become known as the Boxed Quarter in High Street. The Artboxes filled a temporary gap in the post-earthquake transition period and proved very popular with not only the arts community but the wider public
Over 31 exhibitions were held giving Christchurch artists the opportunity to showcase and sell their work direct to the public. In addition the Christchurch Art Gallery utilised some of the space for a year as they sought to begin the repairs to their Gallery. It is estimated that nearly 30,000 people visited the Artbox since its opening in February 2013. Ara has been proud to be the instigator of this project and the relationships it has developed with all the stakeholders who have contributed to the success of the project.
Ara, however, did review its commitment to the Artbox on an annual basis. This year, with other emerging exhibition spaces, the Christchurch Art Gallery repairs underway and the sub - lease on the land up for renewal, Ara has taken the opportunity to make a decision relating to our ongoing support of the Artbox. The Council now feels that the Artbox has served its original purpose of providing transitional exhibition space.
So, after careful consideration Ara has decided that at the end of the lease in August 2015 the current studio boxes will be relocated from the Boxed Quarter. Ara is currently examining possible new locations for the boxes and will ensure that public access continues.