This week has, of course, been focused around the build-up and launch of the 2016 Art Deco Festival and a celebration of all things Art Deco. Close working relationships with key groups in the community are a vital part of a thriving museum and we have enjoyed developing a strong relationship with our neighbours, the Art Deco Trust, over the last twelve months. There’s also been a focus on ensuring a stronger presence and engagement with the Festival. As you may already be aware, our main feature for Art Deco this year is the exhibition of René Lalique vases currently on display.
We’re also engaging in more light-hearted and interactive ways. Our visitor hosts are dressed in Deco style and many other staff are getting into the spirit as well. A children’s activity based around the Lalique vases is on offer (although we’re finding adults are enjoying it too and they’re most welcome to engage).There’s also a photo opportunity with our Art Deco beach cut-out, as well as some bather’s caps to try on.
We are trialling tables and chairs on the forecourt and are pleased that these are being well used by the community and visitors, some of whom are also enjoying an ice-cream or cold drink that can be purchased in the front foyer. We have two soap box derby carts in our front foyer, and on evenings when the foyer is not in use for a function we’ve changed the lighting so that only the Lalique gallery is lit up. We’re also projecting details images of Lalique vases to inject a bit of colour onto the building. These changes create a very different feel in the evening that we hope you enjoy.
Naturally, being a museum, we like to bring authenticity to any conversation and this year is the 80th anniversary of the opening of the original Louis Hay designed building. This first part of the museum was officially opened in February 1936 by Bishop Herbert Williams with a further addition opening the following year. The beautiful entranceway off Herschell Street is widely recognised as a gem of the Art Deco built heritage in Hawke’s Bay, featuring ornamental arches and lintels decorated in a wide variety of eclectic styles. It’s a popular photography spot for tourists and Deco enthusiasts alike.
Last night we were proud to be the venue for the Opening Soiree of the Festival and to have MTG centre stage for the celebrations and festivities. The Art Deco period was one of freedom and optimism, which is captured in our unique architecture and the way in which the people of Hawke’s Bay embrace the Art Deco festival. Whatever you choose to do over this weekend we hope you have fun and immerse yourself in the atmosphere.
Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG Hawke’s Bay
Published in Hawke’s Bay Today Saturday 20 February 2016