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Weighty contribution... Gore District Arts and Heritage Curator Jim Geddes with the 7.5 tonne stone lithography press from Muka Studio.

A majestic past and a promising future will be visible at East Gore Art Centre this weekend.

An open day will be held from 1-4pm on Saturday at the centre at 6 Rock St.

The centre was located in the former Presbyterian church complex where the church hall had been redeveloped into an art studio.

Gore District Arts and heritage curator Jim Geddes said the studio was nearly finished.

“We’re in the very final stages of fitting it out and getting it operational,” Mr Geddes said.

“The open day will allow people to have a look at the studio spaces.”

He would lead tours of the centre and there would be art for sale and printing demonstrations.

The studio was well equipped for print-making with a variety of presses.

The owners of Auckland’s Muka studio gave the largest press to the complex after a 30-year association with the Eastern Southland Gallery.

Weighing 7.5 tonnes, the 19th-century French stone lithography press was a hefty contribution.

It was probably the only press of its type in Australasia, he said.

“It’s semi-automatic and able to process large format flat stones. It was brought to New Zealand in the late 1980s and pretty much every major NZ artist has worked on it.”

Printing demonstrations would be given by Inge Doesberg and local Jacqueline Byars.

An artist’s flat had also been completed at the front of the complex. Artists staying at the complex would be sleeping in a bed given by the Historic Places Trust.

It is the bed Queen Elizabeth slept in when visiting Invercargill in 1954.

The restoration of the main historic church to an education centre had also begun.

The open day was also a chance to look at the plans for this restoration.

“It’s one of Gore’s earliest wooden buildings.”

The contrast between this area and the rest of the complex showed people how much work had already been done, he said.

Artwork, including lithographs by Dick Frizzell, would be for sale and a gift basket would be raffled.

Afternoon tea would be available in the artist’s flat for a gold coin donation.

The open day itself would be free to attend.

“If people want to come along and make a donation they’re welcome to, but they can just come and have a look,” Mr Geddes said.