Community Arts.

Community Arts was incorporated under the Societies Act in 1962 and it was registered with the Charities Commission in 2008.


Our mission is to empower artists and to enable the interested public to engage with and participate in the arts.


SECA will:
- create opportunities and provide spaces for artists to practice, perform, teach, exhibit, market and sell their art
- enable te public to have opportunities to interact with artists and their art


SECA is:
- supportive, personable and hospitable to emerging and established artists and the public
- open to new ideas and initiatives
- passionate about our local community and its artists
- financially supportive of the arts


"Love Square Edge! Community Arts team [is] always friendly and helpful! A great building - warm and inviting!"

— Andi Leipst AKA RubyDax


history of community arts

In 1981 Community Arts was established as an arts centre in Palmerston North's vacated Civic Buildings (now known as Square Edge). In 2006 it entered into an agreement with Palmerston North City Council to manage Square Edge building as an Arts Centre and to use any surplus from tenancy rentals to upgrade facilities for building users and help to fund arts activities, contracted as a 60% building 40% activity split. As the funding levels were cut, firstly $12,000 building management grant in 2009 and then the substantive grant from $76,000 in 2013 to $60,000 in the same year so did its ability to deliver arts activities external to the building. For some time Community Arts focused on Square Edge as an arts centre and delivered arts activities to its visitors and users such as the Commemorative Poppies exhibition and A Word on War competition 2014, Before I Die public art installation, Art+Start, Matariki celebrations and we were part of Aotearoa National Quilt exhibition.

Since 2008 Community Arts has consolidated Square Edge building as the city's art centre. It has built up a solid foundation of 97% occupancy in the building, an array of arts related businesses and users, it has refurbished the Evelyn Rawlins room and added a new stage, repurposed MALGRA bar into The Loft dance studio, turned a store room into FX2 Theatre and added new external and internal lighting.

Over the last 2 years, Community Arts has undertaken a restructure of its operation staff, an overhaul of its policies and a refocus of its strategic plan to give a clear response to the key themes identified in the Arts Survey undertaken by Palmerston North City Council.

In the last 12 months, Community Arts has turned its focus on the wider arts community and begun to deliver initiatives and projects to the benefit of the wider Manawatuu region.

strength of community arts

Community Arts has built strong foundations, firstly through its delivery of Square Edge as an Arts Centre and hub for artists and more recently through its activities and support in the wider arts community. It is well positioned now to move forward, strengthen its relationships even further through the delivery of its key services and support for the local wider arts community.