Aside from being New Zealand’s constitutional and sightseeing capital, Wellington is known for its eclectic mix of museums, galleries, theatres, cafes and unparalleled hospitality – it’s no wonder it’s been awarded the title of world’s ‘coolest little capital’.
What better way to experience the best of artsy Wellington than with a trip to one of its top 10 contemporary art galleries: City Gallery Wellington.
Located in the heart of Wellington’s open-air Civic Square and established in 1980, City Gallery was the first non-collecting exhibition-based public gallery to be opened in New Zealand. The progressive gallery is located on the north-eastern side of Civic Square inside the former Wellington Public Library, which was transformed in 1993 by award-winning architect Stuart Gardyne.
Since its opening, City Gallery has hosted exhibitions of some of the most significant local and international artists in the world, including Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Sidney Nolan and Rita Angus. Along with supporting international artists, City Gallery steadfastly supports national talent with specific galleries dedicated to Wellington, Maori and the Pacific artists.
Whether you’re visiting in summer or winter, there’s always something going on at City Gallery. Aside from exhibiting art by international mega artists or unearthed new talent, it plays host to a number of cultural events throughout the year including weekend exhibition tours, painting workshops and artist talks.
Looking for something for the kids to do? City Gallery encourages junior artists and explorers to get creative as well, with scavenger hunts, school holiday programs and its popular Gallery Babes function, which is specifically for parents and kids.
Admission to City Gallery is free, and it is open all year round from 10am to 5pm. Family guides and site maps are available at the gallery. Whether you’re driving, walking or catching the bus, access to City Gallery is easy.
Parking spaces are available on Wakefield Street as well as in the Michael Fowler Centre car park, and buses stop regularly along Wakefield Street. The gallery cafe is located on the ground floor for light meals and refreshments.