Percy Thomson Gallery is Stratford’s public art gallery and was opened in June 2002 following a bequest to the District by former mayor and businessman Percy Thomson. The Gallery is operated by a trust.
The gallery contains both exhibition areas and work areas for use by local artists and community art groups.
This gallery has developed and grown over the years, now receiving national recognition as a thriving and diverse exhibition space catering for all age groups and interests and involving the community at large.
The gallery provides an extensive programme of exhibitions and events both internally generated and toured from other art collections. New exhibitions open every three to four weeks. Exhibitions vary between national, local and regional artists – established and emerging.
Over the years Percy Thomson Gallery has presented some prestigious exhibitions such as: ‘Drawn from Italy: Mantegna to Kauffmann’, featuring some works that are over 500 years old, one of only three venues to host The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa’s touring exhibition; ‘Dutch Etchers In a Golden Age – Rembrandt and His Peers’; ‘A Micronaut in the Wide World. The Imaginative Life and Times of Graham Percy’; and every two years the Gallery hosts the premier portrait competition, the national Adams Portraiture Awards.
Gallery director Rhonda Bunyan encourages young artists with the annual Kidzshow, where local youngsters are given an opportunity to showcase their skills in a painting competition. The Kidzshow is a joint venture between the Stratford District Youth Council, Stratford Art Society and Percy Thomson Gallery
The local Stratford Art Society exhibits work from its members twice-yearly.