Community central to Aratoi's vision

Masterton ceramic artist Sam Ludden gave an emotional whaikorero at the opening of the 'MainARTery: Moment and Movement' exhibition on Friday, which marks the last show by the Wairarapa artists' collective started 10 years ago, and the last Aratoi exhibition opening for outgoing director Alice Hutchison.
Reflecting on the difficult times currently facing Aratoi, he acknowledged its years of commitment to local artists and offered a challenge to those gathered: 'We have to continually inspire the community with the work we do "- that's one way that artists can support Aratoi at this time.'

It is fitting that 'Moment and Movement' is displayed in the Wesley Wing (formerly the Masterton Methodist Church dating to the 1870s) as this has been a dedicated space for exhibitions by Wairarapa artists ever since it was moved to the site in 1976 to form part of Aratoi's forerunner -  the Wairarapa Arts Centre. Last month it hosted the annual Breadcraft Schools Art exhibition which, since the event started in the 1990s, has given literally thousands of school children a first chance to see their artwork displayed in a public gallery.

Eleven of the 14 exhibitions shown at Aratoi in the past year have focused on local artists and local history -  'local artists' including everyone from school children to amateur artists, King Street Artworks artists and professional artists / designers. Another local group currently on show is the Masterton Art Club at The Windows Gallery, adjacent to the Wesley Wing.
Jacqui Clarke who recently exhibited in the annual King Street Artworks exhibition says 'Aratoi spurred me on in my own work to match the high standards that they always set.'

'As an artist with no access to any other facilities of the art world, it was 'incentive building' for me to be presented at Aratoi in such a professional way. It made me think I could be part of this very high quality and yet accessible establishment. It was reinforcing. Aratoi punches above its weight as a small community establishment holding its own in the larger art world.'

'MainARTery: Moment and Movement' at the Wesley Wing, Aratoi, until 27 November; Masterton Art Club: 'Out of the Garden', until 13 November.

Caption: (Clockwise from top left) Detail of Liz Bondy's 'Wairarapa IV'; 'Fisherking' by Sam Ludden; Sam Ludden; detail of Sean Crawford's 'Hare trigger on the arm Chair'; Detail of 'VIP 50' by Tina-Rae Carter; and a detail from Jan Eagle’s 'Glimpse' series.