Media release: New beginnings for Queenstown art gallery

Queenstown art gallery The Ivy Box is entering a new chapter thanks to an extensive renovation project. 

Housed in the town’s original butcher’s shop on Park Street, the building has been lovingly restored and extended, with the addition of a modern gallery and artists’ residences.

The Ivy Box will re-open to the public on 24th September 2021, with an aptly named ‘New Beginnings’ exhibition. The exhibition will feature the work of The Ivy Box Founder and Director Lynda Hensman as well as work by talented contemporary artists curated by Lynda. 

Ivy Box art gallery sign

“The building no longer served me. It was freezing! It was time to take the building on a new journey, to evolve it into a more modern – and warm – venue for contemporary art,” says Lynda.

“I’m looking forward to not having to wear gloves and a scarf while painting! But more than that, I think the renovation has managed to preserve the essence of the building, whilst giving it a new beginning, a new lease on life. 

“It’s in an incredible location, on the fringe of Queenstown CBD, right on the lakefront and with gorgeous views and I wanted to preserve and enhance that. 

“The haphazard 1970s/80s extension has been demolished to make way for sweeping windows on the upper floor, while the ancient stone walls have been preserved and our famous ivy and Virginia Creeper will be lovingly encouraged to grow back – though not through cracks in the windows and cupboards like it did before the renovation!” 

The gallery originally opened in 2015 and while the building has been transformed, The Ivy Box continues its dedication to authentic New Zealand art. 

Artists at the opening exhibition include Sue Hartly, Jane Sutherland and Odelle Morshuis. The exhibition will also introduce up-and-coming young talent like Hana Coleman. 

“The Ivy Box will still be a venue for authentic art that’s created with passion. The artists on board all have the same passionate dedication to their art – they create from the heart and are ‘outside the square’ in terms of approach and thinking. I’ve hand-picked them for that reason. 

“While the landscape outside is beautiful, you won’t find traditional landscape art inside. The new gallery space will be a home for art that stimulates all the senses – there’s grit, contrast and passion in all of it.” 

Lynda Hensman painting with Monty

For interviews or more information, contact Lynda Hensman.

Photo credit: James Allan Photography

Introducing Artist Hana Coleman

Artist Hana Coleman will exhibit a range of her artworks for the first time in the South Island.

The talented young artist is 19 years old. The Ivy Box’s ‘New Beginnings’ exhibition will be her first major art exhibition.

“This is my first, big, fancy exhibition, so that’s really exciting for me!” She says. 

“For the exhibition, I am exploring the theme of self-care and self-identification. It’s basically about a Maori person trying to discover things about themselves and their ancestry. How the language is lost and how many Maori people don’t know anything about their whakapapa and their tipuna (ancestors). 

“It’s about how there’s a lot of shame and confusion around learning the language. Especially when, as a Maori person, you’re expected to know the language.” 

About Artist Hana Coleman

Hana Coleman

Hana lives in Kūaotunu (Coromandel Peninsula) and met Ivy Box founder and curator Lynda Hensman while working at a local café with Lynda’s daughter. She’s never been to Queenstown before and says she’s excited to see the gallery for the first time at the New Beginnings exhibition opening (Spring 2021). 

Art has always been Hana’s passion: “I’ve always, always, always made art. I still have drawings of fairy people and stuff that I used to draw as a young kid,” she laughs. 

“Right now, I’m only painting in acrylics. My art is very Maori-focussed and I enjoy making art that’s focused on Maori issues and problems happening in Aotearoa and the wider Maori community. 

“I like acrylics, it’s easy and efficient and I don’t have to wait for it to dry. I don’t have to take long breaks in between painting. But then… I don’t like it because it dries so fast and I like my art to be blended. It’s hard when you’re painting skin and you need to blend that in and it’s already dry!” 

See examples of Hana’s art on Instagram (@HanaKowhaiArt), or see her and her art at the New Beginnings exhibition, at the Ivy Box (134 Park Street, Queenstown)