‘Horrendous’ cost for art gallery/museum lights

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Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum.
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District councillors voted to replace specialist exhibition LED light bulbs at the Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum at a cost of $570,000.

Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum director Shirin Khosraviani and Council group manager people and facilities Sarah Mosely told councillors there were more than 250 luminaires across the first and second floor of the building. About five per cent of the fittings were beginning to flicker as they neared the end of their 10-year lifespan next year.

Khosraviani and Mosely said in a report before councillors, at a meeting of the district council last week, the preferred option was to replace the lights before they failed. This would end up costing less in the long-run than staggering the replacement as luminaires failed, as the price of the lights was expected to increase 10 per cent every six to 12 months.

Funds were to come from the district council’s Arts and Culture Reserve, which had a balance of $580,000.

‘‘High quality light is a central factor to effective conservation practice and the ability to display objects for public enjoyment,’’ they said.

Mayor Neil Brown remarked the lights ‘‘had better last’’, as the inflationary increases meant they would be unaffordable in future.

Councillor Carolyn Cameron had concerns about spending most of the reserve funding when money would be needed in future to develop the collection.

Deputy mayor Liz McMillan said she felt it was better for the money to come out of the reserve than go on to rates for the next Long Term Plan.

Councillor Lynette Lovett supported buying new lights as lighting across the building needed to be the same. ‘‘If we want to attract good exhibitions, we have to have it right,’’ she said.

Councillor Tony Todd agreed, but said the special type of lighting was ‘‘horrendously expensive.’’

Councillor Richard Wilson was the only councillor to vote against the recommendation.

’’We have some there that will last, we should be purchasing them when we need them,’’ he said.