New gallery opens on New Plymouth's main street
Fay Looney is a bit of a legend in the Taranaki arts scene and now she and Linda McFetridge have teamed up to open a new bright and spacious city centre art space.
Koru on Devon is an expansion of Looney’s backyard gallery and garden space, Koru on Koru in Oakura, south of New Plymouth.
Friends of Looney, who’s photo of Whangamomona Hotel won the best travel image taken in New Zealand in the 2015 national Cathay Pacific travel photography competition, told her about the space on Devon St which was recently made available after being used for family storage for years.
“When I walked in I was blown away.”
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Koru on Devon, which will coincide opening hours with Thursday late night shopping, houses a variety of work but also offers the opportunity for artists to host solo shows.
Artists can show their work for free at the space, something that was very important to Looney.
“There’s a lot of young emerging artists who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity.
“I think the timing is excellent, I used to work in the main street for many years and it’s sad to see what’s happened to it but we suddenly have an art community that could come together and be a real asset to the centre city.”
The only cost Koru on Devon take is a 10% commission which Looney said just goes in the pot for gallery marketing.
“It’s a very kind and generous offer to the artists.”
The process of getting work into Koru on Devon is relatively simple, just give Looney a call.
“We haven’t turned anyone down yet.
“The work’s got to be edgy though, it’s got to grab you.
“And we’re very pro Taranaki artists of course.”
Three of their artists had already been accepted into the New Zealand Art Show.
Looney, who is a well established and awarded photographer, said as she has gotten older and her late husband Harry passed the galleries provide good company.
“Now I’m old and I’m not doing photography every day being in the galley is company for me.”
McFetridge, who is the gallery curator and a painter by trade, was quick to mention she’s not that old and point to some incredible shots of surfers on the wall that Looney had shot.
“It wasn’t hard I was just standing on the bank watching.”
‘To be involved in what I love, it’s pretty special.”
Looney is known for her photos of New Zealand landscapes and has published books of them.
Recently she travelled the length of the New Zealand talking to artists of all different walks of life which she hopes to be published soon.
Looney and McFetridge have a longstanding relationship with a lot of respect for each other.
“I respect Linda’s experience in the arts field.
“I’m her wingman,” Looney said.
McFetridge said she moved back to Taranaki five years ago and ran into Looney.
“She’s housed me ever since,” McFetridge laughed.
What the pair liked about the running of Koru on Devon was that there was no hierarchy.
“We’re all honest and have a lot of mutual respect for each other,” McFetridge said.
“We’re a team, like a family,” Looney added.