If you visit The Suter Art Gallery you’ll notice that it’s a beautiful place to wander, observe, and relax. The building in itself is majestic and very unique. Its peaceful vibe, with perfectly lit and professionally curated artworks is a hive of activity. There are kids’ and adult art classes, workshops, exhibitions, film festivals, a vibrant café, a gallery store and a 150-seat theatre and cinema.
It takes a lot of coordination, passion (and sometimes coffee) to make all this happen, and this week we put the spotlight on team member Alex Chisnall.
Alex is the team leader and front-of-house retail manager. The shop has something for everyone, focusing on local artists works from locally written books to ceramics, unique items of jewellery, textiles and iconic prints and much more. The prices are reasonable and make great gifts as well as a stunning centrepiece in your living room.
The journey for Alex is very interesting. We asked her how did she end up in this role?
“I was a travel agent for many years and owned my business. I loved making travel dreams come true for people, and of course, sneaking in the odd visit to exotic places myself so that I could share with my clients. Covid happened and very quickly our industry changed. As an experienced travel agent, you need to solve problems and have strong administration skills, so I put these skills to use in a different way and tried inbound tourism with a cycle tour company, before assisting with admin for a dental practice, and doing some work with the Covid Vaccination team.
Then, up came an opportunity to combine those skills with my passion for art, so here I am. It’s great turning up to work each day, where you’re surrounded by lovely art pieces and being around so many creative people. But it has hit my wallet hard with all the temptations here,” she laughs.
Alex grew up in Nelson and completed a mathematics degree at Victoria University. It’s something that helped her in the travel industry and also in her new role.
What’s your favourite style of artwork?
“That’s a tough question, I wasn’t previously into ceramics, but being amongst it here at the Gallery has opened my mind to it. I’m really looking forward to Nelson Clay Week and showcasing our local artist pieces here in the store. I don’t have one favourite style, I’m interested in it all.”
Alex loves the Nelson lifestyle and has recently started making jewellery. Alex and her husband Chris have 2 adult sons who have left their nest, so they have started new adventures with Billy the boxer puppy who keeps them constantly entertained and busy.
Art is something that can inspire, challenge and soothe the mind. It’s inspiring to see the level of public support for this space over recent years and it’s something we as a region can be very proud of.
We encourage you to visit The Suter Art Gallery and enjoy the results of talented creatives from our region and all over the country. It’s also a great space to take the kids. You can ask questions about the artwork, do an artwork treasure hunt and ask them why they like certain pieces. It’s what they call quality time.
Choose a film and bring some friends, or sign up to one of their art classes!
Their website is a great place to have a glance at what’s on. The Suter Art Gallery is free entry so there’s no reason why not? Take some time out this week at The Suter Art Gallery. You’ll be glad you did!
www.thesuter.org.nz (subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest updates)
Opening hours: Mon to Sun 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Located at 208 Bridge Street, Nelson
Explore the virtual tour at The Suter Art Gallery