Sarjeant Gallery’s Tylee Cottage Artist-in-Residence Programme on Firm Footing
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Sarjeant Gallery’s Tylee Cottage Artist-in-Residence Programme on Firm Footing

Current artist-in-residence photographer Conor Clarke pictured on the veranda of historic Tylee Cottage. Conor, was based in Berlin, Germany, prior to taking up the five month residency which runs from September until the end of January 2018.  The sunhat she is wearing belongs to the cottage.  Image: Richard Wotton

The Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua’s artist-in-residence programme at historic Tylee Cottage in Whanganui is well placed to continue attracting leading New Zealand artists following its inclusion in Creative New Zealand’s Toi Uru Kahikatea (Arts Development) Investment Programme for 2018 and 2019.

The Gallery’s Curator and Public Programmes Manager Greg Donson says securing annual funding of $51,160 from the programme for the next two years reflects the success of the 31-year-old Tylee residency and its support of contemporary art practice. The residencies are open to New Zealand artists living outside the Whanganui area, in New Zealand or overseas. Each artist is required to produce a new body of work during the residency that often draws inspiration from the Whanganui region – its environs and history. The work is subsequently exhibited by the Gallery. At least one work produced by the artist is usually gifted to the Sarjeant Gallery art collection.

Mr Donson says $20,000 of the annual Creative New Zealand Investment Funding will go directly to each resident to cover living expenses for the five months that they are based at Tylee Cottage, enabling them to concentrate on creating a body of work to exhibit at the Gallery. He says the remainder of the funding will go towards travel expenses for each of the resident artists in 2018 and 2019 and help out with the cost of publishing catalogues to accompany the resulting exhibitions.

Up until this year resident artists were guaranteed rent, power and phone at Tylee Cottage for the five month residency with a $1,000 living allowance from Whanganui District Council, but had to lodge their own applications for funding.

A one-off Creative New Zealand arts grant in June enabled the Gallery to offer a five month residency from September 2017 to January 2018 to photographer Conor Clarke and that support will now continue through the Investment Programme funding.

Mr Donson says the Gallery’s inclusion in the Toi Uru Kahikatea (Arts Development) Investment Programme is a big boost for the Tylee Cottage residency, enabling the Gallery to offer a stipend that meets the recommended level of support by Creative New Zealand, helping it attract artists of high calibre to the programme.

“Many Tylee exhibition projects have been made possible in the past through Creative New Zealand generous support with one off Arts and Quick Response Grants, but they are contestable funding rounds which means there are no assurances.

“Our inclusion in the Toi Uru Kahikatea programme enables us to provide the residents with a steady and consistent level of financial support.”

He says as well as supporting the careers of emerging and mid-career artists, the Tylee Cottage residencies bring innovative new works with a Whanganui focus to the Gallery’s exhibition programme. The practice of resident artists gifting a work/works to the Gallery also adds depth and value to the Sarjeant Gallery’s holdings of contemporary art. He says the Sarjeant Gallery re-development and restoration of the historic Gallery on the Pukenamu Queens Park site will offer additional scope for artists and give the Gallery more opportunity to showcase works originating from the Tylee Cottage artist-in-residence programme.

“The central dome space in the original Sarjeant Gallery has been an inspiration for a number of site specific works and projects in the past and we are excited about future opportunities that the redevelopment offers for the artist in residence programme.”

Mr Donson says a number of residents have remained in Whanganui after completing their time at Tylee Cottage.

“Sue Cooke, Peter Ireland, Johanna Pegler, Andrea du Chatenier and more recently multi-disciplinary artist Lauren Lysaght, photographer Roberta Thornley and sculptor Glen Hayward have chosen to make Whanganui their permanent home.

“As well as contributing to the community during their time at Tylee Cottage, their ongoing presence means that they continue giving back to the area and engaging with the community in a much wider sense which is good news for the Gallery and Whanganui. ”

Dee Wilson


This story was first published in the Wanganui Chronicle on 12 December, 2017

Recent residencies

Works by a number of artists selected for residencies at Tylee Cottage in the last 18 months are achieving national recognition.

  • Resident in 2015, photographer Roberta Thornley was recently awarded the prestigious Marti Friedlander Photographic Award in association with the Arts Foundation.
  • Glen Hayward, who was also an artist in residence in 2015, currently has an exhibition at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery that features a work that debuted at the Sydney Contemporary international art fair in September this year.
  • 2016 resident Erica van Zon’s Whanganui inspired work ‘Opal Moon Local Lime’ has just opened at Object Space in Auckland.
  • Glass artist Wendy Fairclough (resident from April to September 2016) whose exhibition ‘Common Ground’ has just opened at the Sarjeant Gallery received significant support for her residency from Creative New Zealand and Arts South Australia.
Sarjeant Stories