New role to elevate cultural conversations

Wed 01 Nov 2023
Dr Zara Stanhope, Director, Cultural Enterprises, New Plymouth District Council

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre Director Dr Zara Stanhope moves into a new position with the Gallery’s owners and operators New Plymouth District Council from 1 November, 2023 that of Director, Cultural Enterprises.

The new position, reporting to the Council’s General Manager, Te Tiriti Partnerships, cements the Gallery and Puke Ariki’s position as a key cultural hub in Taranaki, and underscores the progress that the Gallery has made as an active and aspirational Treaty partner.

“Brett Graham’s remarkable exhibition Tai Moana Tai Tangata, three years ago, was a turning point for the Govett-Brewster in terms of its representation of Toi Māori within the Gallery, and connections with Taranaki iwi and their diaspora,” Zara says.

“Since then we have built on the conversations that exhibition invited, and extended our own knowledge as a team and as a focal point for the power of art and artists to lead conversations about the world we live in.”

The current New Plymouth District Council structural review recognised opportunities for the District’s cultural enterprises to work together to see these and other benefits spread across the wider community.

“Aligning and elevating the purpose, operations, and hence importance of our cultural institutions – the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre, Puke Ariki museum and library and the District’s community libraries - presents an enormous opportunity to grow the value and potential of these institutions to be generative cultural, learning, and social spaces.”

“Synergies between the institutions are particularly exciting as we welcome a greater focus on Aotearoa New Zealand history into the school curriculum, and reinforce their relevance in activating the stories, ideas and histories they hold and caring for and sharing the taonga of our communities,” Zara said.

The Gallery’s exhibitions, events and wider engagement programmes will continue as planned, with Zara maintaining curatorial oversight of the programme, with support from the Gallery’s experienced and acclaimed team.