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Boost for Hastings City Art Gallery education programme

Peter Madden Small

A week into his new role as Hastings City Art Gallery educator Peter Madden is looking forward to introducing the region’s students to the value of contemporary art and how it can enrich our lives.

An established artist himself, Madden’s appointment has been made possible thanks to a grant from the Ministry of Education’s Learning Experiences Outside The Classroom (LEOTC) contestable fund.

The funding will support Madden’s role for the next three years, which will enhance the existing school programme the gallery has run for the past three years.

The LEOTC fund supports community-based organisations such as galleries, museums and zoos to provide students with learning experiences that enhance their learning, in alignment with the national curriculum.

Madden will bring extensive practical art experience to the role – described as a collage artist, his works have been exhibited around the world in both solo and group shows and he’s no stranger to education roles, having previously been a lecturer at the likes of Elam Art School and Unitech, along with consultancy work.

Although born in Napier, he spent 30 years in Auckland until returning to the Bay two years ago, in which time he has continued practising his art, his work displayed locally in last year’s EAST exhibition at Hastings City Art Gallery.

The chance to get out of the studio to share his knowledge with others fits well with his practice, he says.

 “You can get isolated in the studio – what I do is very hands on, constantly making things – it’s nice to break it up a bit and get out.

“Everybody likes to be out of the class and we offer hands-on, dynamic learning experiences away from the classroom.”

He says contemporary art is something that has given value to his life and he appreciates the opportunity to give back to others.

“I really believe learning about art has an impact and adds incredible value to people’s lives.”

With it being the 250-year anniversary since James Cook’s arrival to New Zealand, he says the aim this year will be to develop the gallery’s learning modules around that event.

Gallery public engagement specialist Elham Salari says having Madden’s skills and experience on the student programme is exciting for all concerned.

“We are looking forward to making stronger relationships with schools and fulfilling their objectives.”

3 April 2019

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