Trip to buy gift card ended in buying gallery

Date:

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CHOOSE YOUR CHOICE GIFT CARD OFFER TODAY

Becs Wilson only went in to Quadrant Gallery to buy a gift card.

Three months later, she ended up buying the entire gallery.

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“It was just complete happenstance that I was there buying some vouchers for my nieces last year.

“The man behind the counter said I’d probably need to spend them by Christmas because he wanted to retire.

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“I thought it was tragic to see this gallery go, so I asked if he was looking for a buyer and he said, ‘Yes, if I can find the right one’.”

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Ms Wilson said that was the start of a conversation, and on January 17, she took over ownership of the Moray Pl business from former owners Dave McLeod and wife Anne Jackman.

Ms Wilson has had “a bit of history” with art. She used to own the Port Chalmers Design Store.

“David is such a wonderfully generous man and I feel like he has nurtured me into this position.”

Mr McLeod (67) said he and wife Anne opened the gallery in 2007. It was the first business to open in the refurbished Bracken Court following the devastating 2005 fire.

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“I met up with Ted Daniels, who’s the owner of the building, at the market one day and I asked him what he was planning to do with the building.

“He said he was going to have a cafe [Cilantro] on one side of a glass corridor and a gallery on the other.

“I asked who was going in the gallery and he said, ‘would you like to’?

“I thought why not. So we got in on the ground floor.”

Mr McLeod said he spent much of his life teaching and creating art, and saw the establishment of his own gallery as a way of experiencing “the other side” of art — supporting artists and marketing their work.

He said it had become a second home for them over the past 15 years.

“It’s brought us a lot of joy. We’ve made a lot of friends through it.”

However, the couple decided it was time to retire so they could have more time to themselves.

“I’m 68 next birthday and one year into the pension, and I want a bit more freedom.

“The gallery is quite a tie — you can’t just up and run away. There’s not enough money to have paid and part-time staff.”

So it was time to pass it on to someone with the time and passion.

It would also give him more time to continue creating his own art, he said.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

 

 



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