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Upper Hutt Leader : October 10th 2012
Founder-owner Mary Archibald set up the business way back in 1990. The store, and the enthusiastic staff running it with its wide range of activities, have been helping and inspiring arts and craft minded locals ever since. For Mary the path to a lifetime in the art world, of teaching and sharing, was as much about ‘fate’ as any planning, A series of events which started with Mary getting ‘lost’ while trying to find an art exhibition and stumbling on a person her equally lost friend knew, ended up with the pair walking into an art class at the Hutt Valley Memorial College in 1979. “So I went there as a student and then after a few years I was asked to teach,’’ she recalls with a laugh. More than 10 years later Mary’s burgeoning interest in things arty, and her sharp opportunism, had her moving to fill the gap in the arts supplies market, opening her business, firstly in Princes Street “Yes, setting up the shop was a hunch but I just believed in it . . . creativity is good for the soul,’’ she says. With fate again providing reason to change things around, Mary gave up teaching in Lower Hutt and started classes above her shop. Those classes have proved popular and enduring ever since, and better accommodated by the business moving to its present location. Mary is proud she is seeing the children, and grandchildren, of her early days students coming through while her adult classes remain strong in number and talent - demanding of student and teacher alike. “We are still learning, still pushing the boundaries.’’ The store offers most everything ‘’and if anybody needs something we do our damnest to get it,’’ she says. “We have a lot of regulars here, many from the Wairarapa, Kapiti Coast and Wellington, but we still have people who think that a specialist shop is dearer than a bulk buy place. That’s’ always a dilemma but life is full of challenges.’’ One of those challenges for Mary was to set about playing a role in making art and its many extensions more of a ‘thing’ in Upper Hutt. She stood for the city council – and romped in, admitting that, early on she struggled with her new political world. “I did, but I was also certain I wanted to take away the brown and the grey and bring some colour into Upper Hutt.’’ And she’s done it, in a mostly unheralded way with the city’s latest mural on the Main Street the product of her volunteered time and talent, bringing Brett Keno’s concepts to completion. Years earlier, before any council aspirations while on the Design team of Experience Upper Hutt and along with her students, she produced the historical mural near Wilson Street, now part and parcel of the city streetscape.’’ So there’s been much already and there’s more to come. Indeed the story and the future of Archibald’s – The Art Place and Mary Archibald herself are, in many ways, one and the same. Archibald’s – The Art Place is open 9am- 5pm Monday to Thursday, 9am-5 .30 Fridays and 9.30am-3pm Saturday. ArchibAld’s THE ArT PLACE Archibald’s - The Art Place | 95 Main Street, Upper Hutt. | 939 2112 matters 31 Upper Hutt’s long established art supplies store is both institution and inspiration. “If anybody needs something we do our damnest to get it” The Art Place
October 3rd 2012
October 17th 2012