……They Gave an War Exhibition and Nobody Came. (Title shamelessly stolen from a heroically unsuccessful 1970 feature film.)

But I don’t get it.

There’s an exhibition in Nelson, arguably the centre of ceramic art in New Zealand with people who are internationally recognised, have lectured at the International Ceramics Festival in Aberystwyth, won New Zealand’s premier ceramics competition not once but twice, are members of the New Zealand Order of Merit, recipients of the Order of the British Empire for services to pottery and are members of the International Academy of Ceramics (Geneva).

Almost 50 artists from Nelson, Marlborough, Golden Bay and the West Coast.

Really top work.

Opened a week and a half ago, but you wouldn’t know it.

There are TWO posters in the whole of Nelson and surrounding districts – one ON THE DOOR of the Refinery Art Space (obscured by a tree…..)

IMG_0290and one INSIDE the South Street Gallery (obscured by a closed front door unless you’re inside…).

There was a full page article in the Nelson Mail last Thursday (a week after the opening and not telling you how long the exhibition runs –  until 5 March if you’re interested I stand corrected) which will reach the locals


NOTHING online (apart from and my post of the opening.)

NOTHING outside the Refinery Art Space (apart from “Gallery – Open)

NOTHING at the iSite (which is currently packed with visitors)

NOTHING at the airport (80,000 passengers a month…..)

NOTHING at the Suter Gallery (just across the road in their temporary location)

NOTHING on the advertising pillar outside Red Gallery (who – their credit –  have flyers in the cafe)

NOTHING on billboards around town

NOT MUCH (if anything) in the galleries of participating potters

And I’ll bet NOTHING in hotels,  motels, upmarket B&Bs (most with “No vacancy” signs right now…), cafes and restaurants

This is the time when the tourist demographics in the Top the South segue from families with kids to mature travellers with money.

How ON EARTH are you going to tap this market if you don’t tell them that something as significant as this is happening?

Or for that matter the locals who don’t read the Nelson Mail?




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5 Responses to Suppose…….

  1. Kate Mura says:

    You have all the information, now start making some noise where it counts.

  2. Someone clearly didn’t bother with an ad campaign.

  3. Mike Rogers. says:

    Admirable comments, totally correct in parts, but have you really “looked” at the show. You were there at opening, we are at a crossroads, merging “this is us” with “here we are”. In one way we could call this a show for “us” and a foundation has been laid for the future. We wil have more shows, hopefully more often, but we will remember this one for a very long time, as will our public.

  4. Sue Newitt says:

    Always good to get comments and as Mike Rogers points out this is the first exhibition we have put on in this space and with just a few people (potters) organizing it, so it has been a pretty big learning curve . This exhibition has been run on a small budget with all voluntary labour, time and effort. Personally I think we got a lot of things right, and yes we can and should try and get the information out there more, but all of this takes time and money. This exhibition is about getting established potters and clay artists together with the new generation of artists working with clay, and I am very proud of the work and the amazing variety that has been presented. The response to the exhibition has been fantastic and even if we have not advertised it as much as some would like lots of people are finding the exhibition and loving it.

  5. ….If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way. (Napoleon Hill)

    They gave a ceramics exhibition and hundreds came….

    I totally agree with your comments about the quality of this great show and the lack of printed posters, however I hope that the following will help you ‘get it’ the way others seem to, well at least the 870 visitors we have had go through the show in the first eleven days.

    I agree that specific show posters help in attracting more visitors, however as an exhibition listing on Arts Council Nelson’s “February Arts Calendar” the event has, and is being promoted through 25 hard copy posters displayed within CBD businesses, including the i-site and The Suter, along with hundreds of pocket sized calendars freely available in various outlets throughout the city. More detailed information regarding the show was sent to nearly a thousand email recipients subscribed to our database and appears on our website. These email recipients include local hospitality businesses and other arts councils and organisations nationwide who further distribute the information through their own networks. The event is further promoted through our social media avenues:

    Sadly Arts Council Nelson is unable to afford the promotional opportunities available on billboards or the airport. We made the decision many years ago not to utilise poster towers as we found these only had a short life prior to being pasted over. Notwithstanding, we do what we can within our limit budget to help exhibiting artists, and are very open to suggestions on how we can improve our promotional assistance.

    NB. Purely as a correction – the closing date of the show was clearly stated at the end of the Nelson Mail full page colour article. Out of interest, we have found that some of our visitors that do not read the Nelson Mail do actually view articles on Stuff.

    Kind Regards
    Arts Council Nelson and the Refinery ArtSpace Committee

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