Situated in the ground floor of the city’s former Post and Telegraph Office, ArtsPost opened on 27 June 1998 following a major four-year renovation.
Since then, the iconic building has been a focal point in Hamilton’s art scene. Its galleries are hired by local artists to exhibit their work, and the adjoining shop stocks the best in New Zealand-made art and craft.
On average, ArtsPost hosts 26 new exhibitions every year, including annual exhibitions by members of the Waikato Society of Arts and Waikato Society of Potters, the National Youth Art Award and Fieldays No.8 Wire National Art Award.
Two of its exhibition spaces are named after prominent Waikato artists - Ida Carey and Margot Phillips - and the Chartwell Gallery takes its name from the Chartwell Trust, a long-time supporter of the arts in Hamilton.
The Hamilton City Council facility is managed by Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato. Museum Director Cherie Meecham says Hamilton is privileged to have a beautiful heritage building as a dedicated visual arts space.
“The elected members and Council staff of the time , the Hamilton Community Arts Council, and Waikato Society of Arts must be commended for their vision, hard work, and collaboration that brought ArtsPost to life,” she says.
The Post and Telegraph Office was built in 1901 and extended in 1916. It serviced more than 230 District Post Offices until 1940 when a replacement was constructed opposite Garden Place. Between 1940 and 1980 the building was leased by the Social Welfare Department, and subsequent tenants have included the Maori Land Court, local MPs, and the telephone exchange.
It was purchased by Hamilton City Council in 1992 and restored as much as possible to its original condition to create a high-profile facility for the promotion of visual arts