Historic courthouse becomes local arts centre


OC15_Otaki-InfoCentre.jpgYou may remember Ōtaki’s i-SITE. It was housed in the heritage-registered courthouse (1891) located in Centennial Park, Main Road. Sadly, it closed in June, the site “no longer economic,” but new life has been given to the former information centre. The Council’s Environment and Community Development Committee recently approved a recommendation from the Ōtaki Community Board that the historic building be leased to the Artscape Art and Craft Cooperative.

Community Board Deputy Chair Rob Kofoed believes the art cooperative is a good fit for the site.

“We were seeking a tenant associated with an activity that would involve and benefit our community, to be a drawcard for visitors.”

The Artscape Art and Craft Cooperative is a combination of local artists and craftspeople, including Catherine Douglas, Karen McKeown, quilter, Robynne Fellows, Kirsty Green who works with textiles and other media, potters Rod Graham and Kevin Haste, artists George Thompson and  Sherryle Robson, and Lynda Richardson who creates artwork using mosiacs. Currently working at Hyde Park Village, Te Horo, the Cooperative display and sell their art, generating income out of sales. Rob Kofoed says the group will make good  use of the old courthouse space, and will also share their various skills and knowledge.

“The lease is for a year from October 2015, and their plans are to use the site to display art and crafts, to promote local artists and craftspeople. As well as running workshops and demonstrations, such as offering visitors a try with a pottery wheel, they’ll be promoting Ōtaki by selling Kapiti-made and themed products like postcards and calendars.”

The courthouse is a valued community asset and the heritage building will “provide an exciting and efficient way to deliver visitor information,” a service and attraction that will benefit Ōtaki.