We need art - it extends us creatively and helps bring communities together.
Luckily, Tāmaki Makaurau is a haven for art lovers, and there are galleries all over the region where you can attend free exhibitions, sign up for art classes and attend fun events. Here are 10 creative spaces to check out.
Estuary Arts Centre
This creative hub for the Hibiscus Coast community is located in Western Reserve alongside the picturesque Te Ara Tahuna / Ōrewa Estuary Path. With new exhibitions every month, there’s always something new to see, and they also offer a wide range of art classes for adults and children, where you can try your hand at painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking and more.
Mairangi Arts Centre
This vibrant arts education facility and exhibition space in Mairangi Bay is proof that art belongs to everyone. There’s always something to see at this dynamic gallery, and they accept submissions from individuals and community groups to host events. Got artistic aspirations but aren’t sure where to start? Sign up for one of their innovative workshops or consider becoming a member for a small fee.
Studio One Toi Tū
This cool community arts centre has been providing enriching art experiences to the inner-city suburbs since the former Auckland City Council converted the original Newton Police Station into an arts centre in 1978. It’s currently relocated to a temporary site at 283 Karangahape Road while the building undergoes seismic strengthening. Pop in to get your art fix, try your hand at an art class or attend one of their cool makers markets.
Corban Estate Arts Centre
The creative heart of Henderson, this arts hub occupies the site of the former Corban Estate Winery. You can view innovative work by national and local artists in the historic homestead gallery, book the kids into one of their exciting holiday or term-time programmes, or embrace your inner artist and take one yourself.
There’s also a cool café and a gift shop stocked with wares by local artisans, as well as the Māori performing arts venue Te Pou Theatre.
Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery
Not only will you enjoy the diverse programme of exhibitions, activities and events at Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery in the Titirangi village (they pride themselves on being locally rooted in West Auckland but globally minded), you’ll also be inspired by award-winning architecture and stunning views of native bush-clad slopes that lead to the West Coast beaches.
In fact, local iwi Te Kawerau ā Maki gifted the gallery with its name in reference to Te Hau a Uru, the wind that blows from the west.
Fresh Gallery Ōtara
A springboard for emerging young artists, at Fresh Gallery Ōtara you can view the work of talented rangatahi (youth) from local secondary schools, as well as exhibitions by professional artists. If you’re wanting to purchase an original piece for your home, they also run stalls at the iconic Saturday morning markets in Ōtara’s town centre.
Ngā Tohu o Uenuku / Māngere Arts Centre
Home to Māori and Pacific visual and performing arts, this dynamic centre features two exhibition spaces and a theatre. Showcasing works that reflect the identity of Māngere Ōtāhuhu and the surrounding subu, it’s here that you can attend siva afi (traditional Samoan fire knife dancing) workshops, celebrate Diwali with food and henna stations, and enjoy F’INE, an annual festival, celebrating Pasifika LGBTQI+, MVPFAFF+, Rainbow and Queer communities.
If you want to extend your creative boundaries, this contemporary gallery in Pakuranga is a leader in experimental art practice. Once you’ve filled your mind with new concepts, head to the cafe for a cuppa and one of their famous cheese scones, then chill out in The Nook, a cosy, colourful “public living room”.
Papakura Art Gallery
Ignite your passion for modern art in this cute contemporary gallery, which is housed in a refurbished fire station. Drop in with the whānau and spend a creatively satisfying hour or two in their makerspace area, or enjoy the programme of art by local, national and international artists.
Auckland Public Art / He Kohinga Toi
Art doesn’t need to be held within four walls to be considered “proper” art. Discover public artworks all over Tāmaki Makaurau using the interactive map from Auckland Public Art / He Kohinga Toi. You can search by location, artist name or artwork type, as well as see information about each piece.