The Incorporated Society

Prior to 1951 a group of Invercargill citizens who were members of the Southland University Association started building a collection of art for the people of Invercargill. They managed and grew this collection, exhibiting it at various venues around the city. When Victoria Park was gifted to the city of Invercargill in 1951 by the children of Sir Robert and Lady Elizabeth Anderson, the Invercargill City Council decided it would be an ideal home for the growing art collection. The Invercargill Public Art Gallery Society was formed to oversee and run the new gallery.

The Gallery has always had a close relationship with the City Council and the very first President of the governing society was Mr B W Hewat, the city's mayor at the time. Since 1954 the City Council has provided financial support for the management of the collection and upkeep of the building. As an incorporated society, the Art Gallery operates independently of the City Council but the relationship between the two institutions has been a long and close one. In 1971 the Society's name was changed to Anderson Park Art Gallery Inc as a recognition of the importance of the gifting of Anderson House to the establishment of the Gallery.

For many years the gallery was managed by enthusiastic volunteers until the appointment of John Husband as a part-time director in 1977. John held this position for thirty four years and, as a well-regarded artist in his own right, there are many of his works in the collection.

Helen Nicoll, who was appointed as the Gallery's first full-time attendant in 1987 and went on to become Manager/Curator, retired from her role in May 2013. Her successor, Stephen Davies, was appointed to the role in July 2013, and led the team through the closure of Anderson House to their current temporary home at 5 Don Street. Stephen resigned in October 2016, passing the role of Manager/Curator to his then Assistant Manager Sarah Brown.

At the 2016 Annual General Meeting, after much debate, a motion was passed to change the name of Anderson Park Art Gallery Inc back to Invercargill Public Art Gallery Inc. This change recognises the need to clearly communicate the purpose and function of the Gallery to both its Invercargill community and the many visitors to our city.

Current Members of the Gallery Council 2022/23

Chair: David Kennedy

Vice-chair: Lynley Irvine

Secretary: Gemma Baldock

Treasurer: Leon Hartnett


  • Mick Hesselin
  • Graham Fletcher
  • Barbara Wilson
  • Sarah Templer
  • Bex Pilley

Representing Invercargill City Council:

  • Cr Lesley Soper
  • Cr Graham Lewis
  • Cr Peter Kett