New Zealand's Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Christopher Finlayson, has appointed 13 inaugural members to a new streamlined arts council, which replaces three statutory boards and one statutory committee. The new lineup includes art patron Grant Kerr. Best known for his support of the arts in New Plymouth, Kerr was a co-founder of the Taranaki Arts Festival and is currently a member of the Govett-Brewster Foundation, the avenue for donations gifts and bequests for the development of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery collection and realisation of major projects.
Kerr is now based in Auckland where he continues his trademark approach to patronage – a mix of support for big projects, like his continuing support for the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, and his own initiatives. Last year he facilitated a research trip to Auckland by Art Gallery of New South Wales curator of photography Judy Annear (and hosted a reception for her) and next month he has Sydney-based commentator Ann Elias flying in to speak about Peter Peryer's work at the Auckland Photography Festival.
Like many of New Zealand's most influential patrons, Kerr is also a passionate art collector. But unlike most he focuses on one medium – photography. Kerr has a vast collection of contemporary photography, which includes the country's largest collection of images by Peter Peryer and substantial holdings by other major figures, including Laurence Aberhart.
Image: Peter Peryer's portrait of Grant Kerr