Hawke's Bay and East Coast Art Society
In 1933 the Hawke's Bay Art Society, founded in 1924, with 60 members and £124 in the bank (all else had gone in the 1931 earthquake) formed the ambitious plan of founding an art gallery and museum. The present institution is a monument to the driving force and untiring efforts of the late L. D. Bestall, M.B.E. By 1936 a lease had been secured and the art gallery built and opened to the public. In 1938 the centre block was added, and in 1955 the museum wing, with children's museum and Education Department's arts and crafts centre. In 1959, the Holt Gallery was added. Activities include artists' and studio potters' groups, chamber music concerts, and lunchtime recorded music. Besides an annual exhibition and annual open air exhibitions in Hastings as well as in Napier, there are regular special and loan exhibitions. The society receives regular grants from the Napier City Council and from local bodies in the province. These and membership subscriptions provide the main finance. The Napier City Council, the Hastings City Council, and the Hawke's Bay County Council are represented on the council of the society.
The permanent collection includes paintings by New Zealand and overseas artists, pottery, porcelain, and a variety of museum categories.