Whilst the vision for an Arts centre in Oxford is 30 years old, planning in earnest began in 2007. The vision has always been for an Arts Centre where people of all ages and backgrounds can “create, learn, explore, demonstrate and display visual art”.

In February 2010 Stage One of the centre, the gallery and retail space, was opened by Chris Finlayson; Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage. Since its opening it has been visited by over 40,000 people. Visitors are impressed at the high quality of artworks on display and the gallery is acquiring a reputation nationally as an excellent exhibition space.

The centre has also enhanced the artistic and cultural life of the Oxford community; it is utilised by local school groups and supports not only local Oxford artists, but also artists from the greater Canterbury area, as well as around New Zealand and overseas. The most successful exhibition to date was “Moving On”, a post-earthquake exhibition by 40 leading Christchurch artists during July 2011.

The construction of stage two of the Arts Centre began in late 2012, increasing the amount of storage available and providing the first of four dedicated workshops. This much awaited space is now in use, offering opportunities for people to engage in workshops and classes. This is an exciting time for the centre as we build on the success of the gallery and retail space and take a further step towards our vision of becoming a fully working Arts Centre.

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