New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts
The Wellington Art Society, known as the Academy of Fine Arts, had its beginnings in 1882 when the Fine Arts Society of New Zealand was formed. In 1889 the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts was founded, having taken over the property and effects of the Fine Arts Society. In 1892 the Government provided a site in Whitmore Street, Wellington, and members of the academy and the public subscribed to the cost of building a gallery in which the academy could carry out its functions, which included the teaching of art. The Whitmore Street gallery was opened as a free public gallery in 1907 and continued as such until 1936, when, having donated its building, funds, and art collection to the newly established National Art Gallery, the academy was granted permanent accommodation within the new building. The academy conducts two major exhibitions of New Zealand art in the spring and autumn of each year and has staged craft exhibitions from time to time. A series of retrospective exhibitions honouring distinguished New Zealand artists has been arranged and financed by the academy.
The Governor-General is the traditional patron of the New Zealand Academy, the elected officers being the president, two vice-presidents, eight council members, hon. treasurer, and hon. auditor. The paid secretary is also secretary to the National Gallery Management Committee. In membership and sales at exhibitions (an average of over £3,000 annually over the past 10 years) the academy exceeds all other New Zealand Art Societies.