New Plymouth's Len Lye Centre is nearly ready to open

Glenn Jeffrey

New Plymouth's Len Lye Centre is nearly ready to open

Art going in at New Plymouth's Len Lye Centre

05 Jul 2015

Len Lye's artworks are finally being installed inside their new multi million-dollar home.

Construction of the gleaming gallery is finished and the final touches are being added in preparation for the grand opening on July 25.

The New Plymouth District Council's project director Gaye Batty said the excitement was starting to creep in for everyone working on the $11.5 million Len Lye Centre.

"Construction is basically finished and the art is starting to be installed. In the last week the latest milestone is the technician installing the wide screen and connecting the sound in the cinema," she said.

The footpath on Devon St West had been finished and, weather permitting, the path on the Queen St side should be done this week.

"That means we can then take the final and lower PVC covering off (the facade)."

The full unveiling of the 32-tonne stainless steel facade will signal the beginning of the countdown to a week of festivities for the opening.

Friends of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery will be treated to the first tour on Tuesday July 21, while Friday July 24 will see media from around the world get their first glimpse inside New Zealand's only gallery dedicated to a single artist.

Major funders have a preview on the same Friday night and the public will get their first glimpse inside the building on Saturday July 25.

Two days of entertainment and presentations have been pulled together for the opening and hundreds of people are expected to converge on the centre.

Batty said the project was on time, but not quite on budget.

"We've said the combined budget for the two galleries [the Len Lye Centre and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery] was $17m. We are half a million over, but that has been funded through the investment of funds, and the Len Lye Centre Trust.

"We always said we wanted to complete the Len Lye Centre with no ratepayer funding and it is great to have that achieved," she said.

She said the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery side of the project, including the earthquake strengthening, had gone well.

"Govett-Brewster is looking good, of course. I think the people coming through who know the old Govett-Brewster will be very impressed."

Gallery director Simon Rees said the artwork for the Govett Brewster opening exhibition had been moved in last week and blessed.

Len Lye's master work the Giant Fountain had also been installed in the Large Works gallery, he said.

"I have to contain my excitement until the week after the opening," he said.

"We still have three hard weeks of work ahead of us. I think our community will have a great time at the opening."

The public are invited to the opening festival on Saturday July 25 and Sunday July 26. Admission to the galleries and the presentations will be free.

ENDS

"Construction is basically finished and the art is starting to be installed. In the last week the latest milestone is the technician installing the wide screen and connecting the sound in the cinema," says Gaye Batty