For the past 5 days now, we have been hanging out in Auckland. It probably does not come as much of a surprise for you to know that I am thoroughly enjoying city life. It may surprise you a little more (as it does me) to know that "my guys" are enjoying it as much as I am, and that visiting cities with a toddler is actually a lot of fun.
A couple of days ago we spent the whole afternoon at the Auckland Art Gallery. The picture above is from inside one of the galleries installations, and as you can tell, Hudson is quite keen about art : )
Visiting the gallery on a Saturday was a smart move on our part because the place was teeming with children, and child friendly activities were put on throughout the day. Some of them, like the "I Spy" tour were probably meant for slightly older children so we skipped that one, but we did get to hang out with the Pacifica Mamas and Hudson (with some help from mommy and one of the "Mamas") made his very own piece of "Maori inspired" jewelry.
Karl on the other hand kept busy by snapping pictures of the actual building that houses the gallery.
(And earlier that day of the train station. And before that of some of the homes in the neighbourhood where we are currently staying. And before that of the home we are staying in. It would seem that this trip has brought out somewhat of an architecture appreciator in Karl. He's even started a separate folder on the hard drive for "house ideas". The families we have been staying with must find us a bit peculiar, because we have been taking pictures of anything and everything - from switch plate covers to kitchen islands, ironing board cupboards to patio doors. Some of the homes we have been staying in have been fantastically thought out - the last place we stayed in won a award in its category, which does not surprise me the least bit. Have you ever considered matching your drawer pulls to the fridge door handle? Our last host did, and I will too next time we re-do a kitchen. It's subtle, but man does it ever make a difference in the overall "look". But.... I digress....)
Back to being smitten by the Art Gallery...
Do you know what it costs to visit the AGO in Toronto these days? - $19.50 a person! And that's just the general admission.
Do you know what it costs to visit the gallery in Auckland? As little or as much as you would like. If you want to see the special exhibit on right now, there is a set price but the rest of the gallery is accessible to everyone! (Did I mention there is also a free bus that takes you to the gallery from the main transit station !?!) It's quite extensive too, both in the number of pieces they showcase and in the variety of art on display.
It's not just the Art Gallery in Auckland, either. Entry to the Museum here, the Te Papa in Wellington, the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch (I am sure there is many more, but we have actually been to all these so I can say that for certain - all are by donation. Which I think is the way it should be.
I believe that it is/should be the mandate of city museums and galleries to try to reach and engage as much of the general public as possible. Charging $20.00 for admission - you are keeping out a huge segment of the population. Cementing the unfortunate adage that "art is not accessible". (How did this post turn into a rant? I really did not mean for it to become one).
We have been to a whole lot of museums and galleries on this trip. I try to make a point of going whenever we are in a city/town longer then a couple of days. Everywhere we have been thus far, admissions have been considerably lower (if there is an admission fee at all) then those we are used to paying in Canada. I wonder why that is so.
In the interest of ending this post on a positive note, I have decided to turn it into a postcard contest since we haven't done one for a while. Thus;