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Framing the Art Scene in Nelson

Greg MacKay is the man behind Nelson City Framers and brings a unique blend of experience and passion to the heart of Nelson’s art scene. His journey from the bustling tourism industry to the meticulous world of art framing weaves a narrative of change, discovery, and a commitment to the arts. Born in Christchurch, Greg did find himself spending some of his early years in Nelson, working for the Delicatessen on Hardy Street and Traffers Restaurant and Bar where the provincial Museum now calls home. Eventually returning to Christchurch Greg found the tourism sector which provided him with a broad perspective on customer service and business dynamics.

Reflecting on his career, Greg notes, “I was immersed in a world that was fast-paced and ever-changing, catering to tourists, which honed my adaptability and customer engagement skills.” His transition from tourism to art and framing was an unexpected twist in his career trajectory, sparked by the global shifts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The seismic changes brought by the pandemic led Greg to reconsider his career path, drawing him back to Christchurch and land in the world of art, a field he had an affinity for since his school days. “I’ve always had a natural inclination towards art. My family members are very much into their art, and it was something I gravitated towards without really trying,” Greg shares. His accidental foray into framing in Christchurch offered a new avenue to explore his creative side and to his surprise, he found framing came quite naturally to him.

Greg’s move to Nelson and subsequent acquisition of Nelson City Framers was from a chance discussion with a mutual friend of the previous owner and a decision influenced by both personal and professional aspirations. He recalls, “The decision to buy the Nelson business wasn’t just about a job; it was about embracing a lifestyle that resonated with my love for art and community.” Nelson City Framers has become synonymous with quality craftsmanship and a deep appreciation for the artistic process.

At Nelson City Framers, the range of services extends beyond traditional framing. Greg and his team offer expert advice on preserving and presenting artworks, from local and national artists to treasured family heirlooms. The gallery space within the shop serves as a testament to Greg’s vision of a community-centric art hub, hosting exhibitions and fostering local talent.

Discussing the services offered, Greg explains, “Our goal is to provide a comprehensive service to artists and art lovers. Whether it’s framing, printing, or exhibiting, we want to be a part of the artistic journey for our artists.” His approach to framing is artistically sensitive yet practical, ensuring that each piece not only looks its best but is preserved for future generations.

Greg’s collaboration with local artists has been particularly rewarding. He describes the partnership as a privilege, saying, “Working with artists is a daily inspiration. It’s more than just a business relationship; it’s about being part of the creative process.”

Looking to the future, Greg envisions a revitalised Nelson art scene reminiscent of the 1980s, a period he remembers as being rich with artistic expression and community engagement. He expresses concern over the shifting dynamics in local tourism and commerce, advocating for a strategic approach to revitalising Nelson’s cultural and economic landscape. “We need to rethink how we engage with both locals and tourists. Nelson has so much to offer, and it’s about showcasing our strengths and uniqueness,” he asserts.

His aspirations for Nelson are grounded in a belief in the city’s potential as a cultural destination. Greg imagines a future where Nelson is not only known for its natural beauty but also as a thriving art centre, attracting artists and art lovers from across the country and beyond. “Nelson has the potential to be a beacon for the arts, much like it was in the past. It’s about creating opportunities and platforms for artists to thrive and be recognized,” he reflects.

In addition to his business, Greg finds time to unwind in the great outdoors. Getting out on his mountain bike and enjoying some of Nelson’s natural beauty along with some of the best biking trails in New Zealand.

Greg’s story is not just about a career change; it’s a narrative of embracing one’s passions and contributing to the cultural fabric of a community. Through Nelson City Framers, he continues to weave his love for art, craftsmanship, and community into the vibrant tapestry of Nelson’s art scene, promising a future where art and community come together.

For those wishing to connect with Greg and explore the offerings of Nelson City Framers, a visit to the gallery on Halifax Street is the best way to interact and while you are there take in some of our incredible local artists.

42a Halifax Street, Nelson.
Ph: 03 539 1233
Open Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm & 10:00 – 1:00pm on Saturdays

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