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					The 2004 New Zealand Post Management Excellence Awards



A Community Driven Venture!


         Expressions




          arts and entertainment centre




                    CATEGORY:
The New Zealand Post Community Relationship Award
Table of Contents
Needs and Benefits .............................................................................................................. 3

Contribution to Council’s Vision and Direction ........................................................................ 4

Effective Project Management Techniques ............................................................................. 4

Participatory Approach ......................................................................................................... 5



Innovation in Community Relationships ................................................................................. 6

Successful Results................................................................................................................ 7

‘A Good, Sensible and Right Thing To Do .............................................................................. 7




APPENDICIES:
Appendix One:                                         Letters Of Support
                                                      a. Ronald Scott ................................................................................ 8
                                                      b. Joy Bullen, Chairperson, Orongomai Marae Committee................... 9
                                                      c. Nicola Meek, Chair, Expressions Arts And Entertainment Centre...... 10

Appendix Two:                                         Building Sketch ................................................................................. 11

Appendix Three:                                       Floor Plans
                                                      a. Plan 1. Section............................................................................. 12
                                                      b. Plan 2. Ground Floor .................................................................... 13
                                                      c. Plan 3. Second And Third Floor ..................................................... 14

Appendix Four:                                        Expressions Arts and Entertainment Centre Brochure........................... 15



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                                                                                  Expressions
                                                                     Arts and Entertainment Centre




‘Our vision is for an inspired community celebrating expression.’ Nicola Meek, Trustee

Upper Hutt’s vision for a multi-purpose arts and recreation facility is now a reality.
Designed by Architecture+, the new building adds an art gallery and 200 seat theatre,
along with a café and hospitality areas to the existing community recreation hall.



Need and Benefits
The innovative concept of bringing together a theatre, gallery and community recreation hall has
been the result of Council working with the community to identify the best way to meet and
develop local aspirations. It has brought the arts into a non-threatening everyday context, and
improved accessibility to arts and recreation opportunities for all.

The large hall was retained from the previous community complex. Its sports and cultural uses
broaden the scope of the centre from purist arts to opportunities for children, families and
community groups to express themselves through a wide range of activities including school
concerts, gymnastics, roller skating and exhibitions. In responding to community expectations
and feedback, by having these activities alongside the gallery and theatre in the one building,
Council has been able to create a facility, which brings people of all interests and backgrounds
together, and increases overall participation in local arts and recreation activities.

Expressions is a focal point to celebrate and define who we are – developed and designed in
partnership with our community.

The presence of professional curatorial expertise in the city now allows us to tell stories that were
little known or previously untold. Such as the history of Golder Cottage, a photographic essay on
Te Marua Family Speedway, and an insight to the Chapman Taylor legacy.

Our new venue lets us better commemorate and participate further in significant community
events such as Anzac Day, Waitangi Day, Matariki, and International Children’s day.
The galleries enable us to focus on issues that challenge and inspire our community, such as the
Good Grief installation which used 1000 handkerchiefs to explore the work of mourning.

Increased event activity has lead to more opportunities for social and recreation experiences, and
contributed to people feeling good about the city, having opportunities to express themselves, to
be inspired, and to celebrate. Feedback from the community has highlighted a growing sense of
pride in the city, with regular hosting of visiting family and friends.

Expressions Arts and Entertainment Centre is already an established part of our community’s
infrastructure and activity. People talk of the new facility as representing Upper Hutt’s “coming of
age” from a cultural perspective and its contribution will continue to grow.

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Contribution to Council’s vision and direction
The “cultural centre” project was a major feature of the 2001 – 2011 Strategic Plan, which set the
Council’s Vision as “Upper Hutt City – a great place to live”.

The desired outcome for the facility was “a well patronized facility providing a venue for a wide
range of cultural, social and recreational opportunities.”

Council saw the Centre as being a major new community asset, with the potential to improve the
quality of the arts, make arts and leisure opportunities more accessible and enhance overall
community development, in the social, cultural and economic arenas.      With the opening of
Expressions, it made major progress towards these goals.

In the new Community Outcomes developed for the City, Expressions now plays a lead role in
achieving the following Outcomes:

•                            Outcome 1                 Upper Hutt is the city of choice for people from all walks of life
•                         Outcome 2                     Upper Hutt has a vibrant city heart
•                         Outcome 3:                    The economy is robust innovative and growing
•                         Outcome 5                     We have a safe, healthy and strong community
•                         Outcome 6                     Leisure opportunities are outstanding

Expressions has already made a significant positive impact on the social and cultural development
and vitality of the city and reinforces the reputation of Upper Hutt as a great place to live.




Effective project management techniques
Project management was lead by the Council, ensuring full participation by the
community and consultants at appropriate stages.

At the planning stage, user groups and the wider community were fully involved and the design
fully reflected the identified needs. It remained a “customer driven” project all the way through
the construction phase, with regular user input and review.

Day to day project management during construction was the responsibility of the architect,
architecture+, with strong input from the rest of the consultant team and cost control from
Mallard Cooke, Quantity Surveyors. Council staff were heavily involved in monitoring progress
and costs, with the result that the project was completed on time and to a high quality standard.
The final cost marginally exceeded budget by $50,000 (0.8%) due to two late design issues.

Forward planning for the centre’s operations began at the feasibility study stage, with the
Expressions Trust then preparing strategic and business plans for Expressions, and involving the
community early on. An annual consultation meeting, and regular contact with centre users
continues to feed into business planning and operation.




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Participatory approach
The development and ongoing operation of Expressions is a significant collaborative
exercise.

In February 1993 the Upper Hutt Valley Community Arts Council presented a proposal to the
Upper Hutt City Council for a local arts theatre and gallery. Despite excellent provision of sport
and recreation facilities in the city, a gap existed in the provision of arts and cultural facilities, and
the idea of a new building had been discussed for over 30 years.

A strong sense of community ownership of the proposed arts centre was seen as important to
ensure future use and accessibility. Council fostered a working group to progress the project, and
upon their recommendation established the Upper Hutt Community Arts Centre Trust.

The Trust developed a comprehensive brief in conjunction with theatre consultant Dorita Hannah.
Architecture+ was engaged as architect and, with the Trust’s team, liaised with local groups and
held a myriad of focus group meetings, to develop a design that reflected the community’s needs.

In 1999 the council, reviewing progress, considered several options including standalone gallery
sites and a theatre with reduced specifications. A community meeting of user groups and patrons
was called to tease out the project’s future. The best option - providing a quality facility at an
affordable price - was to redevelop the ageing Civic Hall into a flexible performance and exhibition
space plus an art gallery.

In 2001 the Council established the Expressions Arts and Entertainment Trust to operate the
facility, and the user groups continued to provide technical advice to the project consultants and
the Trust right through the development and start up phases. The involvement of artists and arts
groups in each step of the process secured their commitment to support the project and help
share key messages about the centre in the wider community.

From the arts groups comprising the Community Arts Council that submitted the proposal for a
combined performing and visual arts venue, to artists, community leaders, Orongomai Marae, and
the business sector, all elements of the community are involved. A community competition to
name the centre attracted significant participation and reinforced this sense of ownership.

The Expressions Arts and Entertainment Trust captures the collaborative relationships that are a
feature of Expressions development and operation. The Trust includes representatives from the
wider community, as well as the arts, Orongomai Marae, and the business community.

Regular community consultation meetings, a strong volunteer core, dedicated commercial
sponsors and close liaison with the Friends of Expressions group further reflect its comprehensive
community ownership.

The high degree of community ownership of Expressions was highlighted when the dawn blessing of the
building at 4.30am attracted almost 150 people, and almost all of the 700 people invited to the opening
ceremony came.




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Innovation in Community Relationships
‘Expressions is the city’s focal point for arts and cultural pursuits, as well as catering to
sporting uses through Riverstone Recreation.’                            Wayne Guppy, Mayor




                                                                  With innovation at its essence, Upper Hutt’s new multi-
                                                                  purpose arts, cultural and sporting facility reflects exciting
                                                                  new ideas in the way its management and functional
                                                                  elements work together to maximise community benefit.

                                                                  The building design includes some unique architectural and
                                                                  functional elements, which have created an iconic building for the
                                                                  city. From a visual design perspective, the internal 'drum'
                                                                  enclosing the theatre, combined with extensive use of wood,
                                                                  glass and coloured lighting, has resulted in an artistically beautiful
                                                                  building.

While visually stunning, the building is of course intensely practical in its use, reflecting community
input during the planning and design phases. The innovation of bringing together, a theatre,
gallery and community recreation hall has brought the arts into a non-threatening everyday
context, and improved accessibility for all to a wider range of leisure options. The shared foyer
space means rollerbladers using the hall can soak up a photographic exhibition at half-time.
Parents of children performing in the theatre can enjoy a coffee, while appreciating Te Manawa,
the carved pou in the foyer. Theatre events can use Riverstone Recreation for linked activities
and cultural festivals can use all the spaces to maximise enjoyment.

 The theatre is equipped with the latest in theatrical technology. Workshops for familiarisation with
the technical equipment have enabled local users to come up to speed with the new technology
and a subsidy keeps costs down and enables professional technical assistance to be provided.

Expressions ensures that exhibitions have relevance to our communities of interest. Children's
programmes and partnerships with other local community organisations such as Orongomai
Marae and the Wellington Speedway Society are innovative in their impact and reach.

The volunteer programme makes a valuable contribution to the smooth operation of the Centre.
Ushers, gallery hosts, technicians and general hands all contribute, and are trained in a variety of
NZQA approved topics including first aid and customer service.

This project has been truly community driven from its inception to its current operation. The
unique mix of functions in the building reflects our city’s needs and the design and operation of the
new facility have been driven by local demand. Innovative ways of enhancing the community
relationships are looked for and implemented at every step and Council is proud of what the Upper
Hutt community has achieved.




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Successful results
The collaborative nature of the development of Expressions was driven by a philosophy of
checking back with the arts community, so that an evaluation loop was included within
each development phase.

It is early days, Expressions has only been open since 1 September 2003, yet findings already
indicate high satisfaction with the new facility.

Council’s March 2004 community survey showed that a significant 97 percent of respondents were
satisfied with the range and number of arts opportunities in the city. This compares with a result of
92.5% in the previous year.

Repeat bookings, feedback from Expressions users and high visitor numbers show high levels of
satisfaction.

With a population of 37,000, over 35,000 people had attended events or exhibitions at
Expressions in the first seven months of operation. The theatre and hall achieved over 1500 hours
of use in the same period.

Ongoing evaluation continues with the Expressions Trust currently partnering the National Library
Research and Evaluation Unit to complete detailed evaluation of visitors and users. Annual
consultation meetings and visitor feedback continues to inform operations.



‘A good, sensible and right thing to do’
‘Expressions is about building a strong and vibrant community, and defining our identity
as a city.’                                                             Tom Leckie, Trustee




The social wellbeing of our community is a core rational for the centre’s development. The
vision of the Expressions Trust is for ‘An inspired community celebrating expression’.

Expressions is a focal point to celebrate and define who we are as a community. It has clearly
been embraced by the community, with a strong sense of ownership and participation.

The Council responded to the community’s call for a new facility and consistently carried out
reference checks to make sure that the plans reflected what was wanted and needed. The
construction and operational budgets have been closely assessed and monitored to ensure that
the community receives the very best value for its investment. Its management by the Trust
continues to reflect a responsive, cost-effective approach.

The proof that it was a ‘good, sensible and right thing to do’ is in the usage figures and satisfaction
ratings. It was wanted, needed and affordable. The community now relishes its new asset.




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                                                                             Appendix 1a




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Appendix 1b




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Appendix 1c




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Appendix 2




                                                           EXPRESSIONS
                                               Arts and entertainment centre




                                                           836 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt




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Appendix 3a




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Appendix 3b




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Appendix 3c




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Appendix 4




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