Fran Davies, Director International Art Centre talked to Verve about Parnell
“Parnell is our home,” says Fran. “Its history, beauty, and energy are unique.”
Since 1971, the centre has been at the forefront of the New Zealand art market. “Auction sales such as the recent record price of $1.3M achieved for a painting by C.F. Goldie draw media and public attention not only to International Art Centre, but to Parnell as a whole,” says the director.
After 45 years at its current Parnell Road location, the centre will be moving to brand new premises at number 202, opening its doors on 17 August.
“Having been here for so long, the International Art Centre is a well established Parnell landmark,” says Fran. “What I see happening now is really exciting. I call it Parnell’s Renaissance. Imaginative growth on the historical foundations of New Zealand’s oldest suburb. I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”
What does Parnell mean to you on a personal level?
“A great deal. As a 16-year-old, I remember Les Harvey, the’ King of Parnell’, laying bricks and planting flowers throughout the suburb. The bronze statue outside Antoine’s Restaurant celebrates his vision. In the late 1960s my father, Graham Chote, saw potential and opportunity in Parnell which by the 1980s became a magnate for what was known then as the ‘in crowd’. Fabulous personalities shopped, partied, worked, dined and celebrated at venues such as Patrick Steel Couture, Iguacu, the VGB, Exchange, Windsor Castle and Antoines. Parnell Road is still my Boulevard of Dreams.”
There is, adds Fran, a real sense of community: “With exquisite speciality retailers such as Passion for Paper, Parnell retains the ambience of a village, albeit a 21st century one, and that in itself is something special and well-worth retaining.”
And she’s excited about what’s to come.
“City Construction’s unwavering commitment to Parnell along with projects such as their beautiful palm-filled piazza and the retention of precious historical buildings point the way to a bright future.”