After several years of major staffing, venue and organizational
changes, 2001 saw the Physics Room enter a new period of stability
and focus. Comfortably settled into our current premises in Tuam
Street, and with more secure funding we have been able to generate
more permanent staffing and administrative structures. I continued
as General Manager, with Rosemary Forde as Programmes Coordinator,
under the direction and governance of the Board of Trustees.
The Trusts Strategic Plan, which was developed in early
2001, has proved a useful and active document, and an effective
tool in communicating clearly to both our audiences, and ourselves
the Physics Rooms objectives. We continue to place an emphasis
on both a strong conceptual basis, to allow experimental and risky
creative development, and secure financial management, to ensure
the ongoing viability of the Physics Room as an orgnisation.
In 2001 the Physics Room received a 19% funding increase in our
core funding from Creative New Zealand, as a result of the Labour
Alliance Governments Cultural Recovery package for the arts.
Due to this we have been able to undertake a number of significant
changes to our systems, and there has also been a corresponding
rise in both our stability and energy as an institution. These
changes have included the ability to finally make the General Managers
position a full time salary, and make the Programmes Coordinators
job a permanent position. These gains have been vital to retaining
staff experience and skills, and with the addition of part time,
WINZ funded, help from Scott Flanagan and Phillip Brown during
the latter part of 2001, as well as a growing pool of volunteers,
we began to feel quite luxurious!
We have also been able to allocate extra money into publications
for exhibitions, with theTomorrow
People catalogue released late
in 2001. This has been an exciting new change for the gallery,
allowing us to build on key individual shows, promoting, and further
engaging audiences with them. Our exhibitions over the last 12
months have been strong, with some particularly solid group and
international projects, as well as the Fresh series, which has
proved a really successful way, in terms of generating both media
coverage and audiences for the work of more emerging artists, locally
and nationally. During 2001 the Physics Room exhibited the work
of over eighty different artists, in a total of twenty gallery
exhibitions, and twelve external projects. We also presented a
range of one-off performances, artists talks, and provided
a forum for over sixty artists and writers in print. The gallery
and exhibition projects received a total of 14,662 visitors, and
we received a total of 74,190 unique visitors to our website.
We undertook a number of external public art projects during 2001,
notably the Kiosk series, which saw the Physics Room curate a six
month programme for public art space The Kiosk, a block away from
the gallery in High Street. We also presented Craft a partnership
project with local fashion boutiques Novak and Tango, presenting
a one night fashion and art event incorporating three commissioned
videos by Christchurch media artists, (with the support of the
Community Trust). These videos were subsequently presented along
the High Street region in shop windows (Novak, Tango, and Galaxy
Records) for two weeks, generating a wide audience for these projects.
We presented two Internet projects as well during 2001, the first
being the multi-media, multi-venue eventThe
Picnic, which provided
both physical and virtual spaces for interaction and play. We also
presented the project 4 EVA, a musical ode to fandom and mp3s
curated by David Hatcher.
We rely a lot on the goodwill and support of other local organisations,
particularly in regards the loans of equipment, and I would like
especially to thank the Robert McDougall Art Gallery, the High
Street Project, the SOFA Gallery, COCA, the Space Gallery and the
College of Art and Design for their support of our projects. Additional
funding during 2001 was also received from the Community Trust,
Work and Income NZ, the Creative Communities Scheme, the EAF, and
the Canterbury Development Corporations ACE scheme. We also
received support in kind from The Package, Montieths, and Bryco.
With a new focus on promotion and audience development we continue
to strengthen and widen our audiences, and 2001 saw both an increase
in audience numbers, and a doubling of the local media coverage,
with regular reviews in The Press newspaper, Canta, Presto, and
The Package. International and national coverage was received for
several shows, including Neural Notations (Asian Art News), The
Tomorrow People (Pavement), The Dinner (the Listener) and Travel
Stories Otira/Germany -Schnittstelle/Interface (Art New Zealand).
We continued to host educational classes at the gallery, and our
gallery membership also increased during this period, with a particular
increase in the number of local gallery members.
Our financial systems continue to be upgraded, with Rosemary Forde,
Programmes Coordinator becoming the dedicated book keeper for the
gallery, working with our accountant Gavin Shepherd (Miller, Gale
and Winter) to ensure our systems become tighter and more accountable.
Financially, all programmes at the Physics Room operated within
their budget allocations, apart from LOG magazine, which continued
to run at a deficit, and sadly, funding for this project was discontinued
for 2002. The current financial climate for magazine publishing
continues to be difficult, and, as a niche cultural publication,
LOG was never really able to meet its advertising and sales targets.
This was a difficult decision to have to make, as LOG had been
a strong component of our programmes, witty, discursive, critical
and compelling. However, The Physics Room will continue to publish
exhibition catalogues and this yearbook will become an annual event.
Publication sales generally look positive, with the implementation
of a new mini bookstore in the gallery; we are now
selling not only Physics Room publications, but also a range of
other artists books, CDs, and catalogues.
We have also seen technical and travel costs sharply increase,
particularly at the end of 2001, largely as a result of increased
airport charges arising from September 11. This will make it increasingly
difficult to accommodate international and large-scale projects,
so we must continue to source external sponsorship and additional
funding wherever we can.
The last 12 months have seen us say goodbye to several longstanding
and valued board members, so thank you from all of us to Zita Joyce,
Warren Pringle and Margaret Dawson for their imput and energy during
their time as members of the Trust.
This essay originally appeared in
Physics Room Annual 2001
Published July 2002
Order your copy today from The
Physics Room !