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Fine Art in the middle of the Whitianga Town Centre upgrade

24 July 2018

As we complete Phase One of the Whitianga Town Centre upgrade along Albert Street and we roll into Phase Two and Three, we chat with Christine Rabarts who knows all about high quality finishes as owner of the Bread & Butter Gallery.

Whitianga Town Centre Upgrade - Bread and Butter Gallery

Situated at 26 Albert Street, currently tucked behind the fences of Stage Two, you come across Christine's warm and inviting gallery, where the stresses of the construction work outside fade as you walk amongst the beautiful art work on display.

"I have over 70 artists who display in our gallery, and we have four or five a week trying to get into the gallery, but I would generally only take on another five each year," says Christine.

"I look for quality in design and pricing.  I try to help artists be professional and courageous with new styles, while being mindful of our client base and the work they would like to see," adds Christine.

Christine grew up in Tuateawa and moved her son and the business to Whitianga close to 10 years ago.

"The gallery has slowly expanded.  I took over from the store Manly Blokes around six-and-a-half years ago.  Then when the store next door became available to lease, I took the opportunity to expand, with the help of my lovely bank advisor who caught me looking into the store when it became available, and for the last three and a half years, I've had the rooms upstairs for exhibition shows," says Christine.

With the running of her website and social media, along with organising weekly exhibitions in the summer, artists meetings, running the store front, installing a new POS system, and answering queries from across the country and around the world, it's certainly not the laid-back lifestyle of an artist, that some would perceive.

"Artists can be under a lot of pressure, to get a body of work together with enough quality pieces to enable an exhibition, while meeting clients' needs, it can be rather demanding," says Christine.

With two part-time staff and a gallery that operates seven days a week in the summer, the added pressure of the current upgrade has had some impact, according to Christine.

"The pedestrian traffic flow through town has taken a hit and I'm very thankful I'm not a new business trying to survive its first winter in town," says Christine.

"I believe this can be good for the town, as long as we're mindful that we need a high quality design and finish to the town centre, for not only our residents, but our tourists and holiday home owners, to keep them here longer and keep them coming back into town," Christine adds.

We are grateful to Christine for her time, and encourage you to get down into the town centre, check out all the changes so far and visit the Bread & Butter gallery to help unwind from your day. 

You can also check out more of what the Bread & Butter gallery have coming up with exhibitions, by visiting their website and Facebook page.