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New Ramp Gallery curator connects art to the classroom and community

Ramp Gallery curator and arts educator Tamsin Green outside the contemporary public art gallery, situated in the heart of Hamilton City at Wintec | Te Pūkenga School of Media Arts.

Meet artist and educator Dr Tamsin Green, the newly appointed Ramp Gallery curator. She moved to the Waikato along with her partner in 2020 after a four-year stint in New York and has since become a fixture in the region's art community. She’s now settling into her role at Wintec | Te Pūkenga, focusing on the educational and community potential of Ramp Gallery. 

Green is originally from Australia, born in Sydney on Gadigal territory, her whānau moved from Ireland, Scotland and Italy. Tamsin was a senior lecturer at Monash University, and co-founded a contemporary artist-run gallery in Melbourne. Green’s art career continued while living in Brooklyn, New York, lecturing at City University of New York (CUNY) and managing an arts studio, while finishing her doctorate. 

“In New York I had a lot of different jobs. I ran a kid's pottery studio in Brooklyn where we did a lot of off-site and worked with primary schools around the area. I made coffee for a while, I worked in a domestic violence shelter where I ran an art-therapy drop in space. I had about seven [jobs] over the period,” says Green.

“My main take away from these global experiences is that in all creative roles, it is relationships that matter most. These values are echoed in what I have learned here from Te Ao Māori.” 

Green’s role at Wintec | Te Pūkenga sees her making use of her diverse abilities once again, co-teaching as a photography specialist on the contemporary art degree, alongside her curator role. Green says that teaching and curating work well together, with Ramp Gallery as an education space with manakitanga and whakawhanaungatanga at the core.

In the few short months she has been at Ramp, Green has hosted a variety of student and community groups at gallery talks and classroom sessions. She has welcomed community through exhibition openings and has mentored final year students in their internship placements. Ramp Gallery has been a site for students to experience the real-world requirements of artists and gallerists for a number of years and Green’s curatorial approach continues that tradition.

“My approach to curating is relational. I like to start with projects that are a somewhat unformed and work with the artists to develop them, making connections between the work, other artists, and writers. A gallery like Ramp also gives students the ability to be part of that professional context and to learn real skills in the process. So there's lots of crossovers with my teaching practice,” she says.

For 20 plus years students at Wintec School of Media Arts have had access to the on campus Ramp Gallery. It’s often a teaching space, but it also links with the wider creative community through events, openings and exhibitions. For Green, she sees the gallery as an access point to the community but also “a part of the creative classroom, and a lab for artists to work”. 

Green says she sees lots of art getting made in the Waikato, and recognises that this is a very supportive community, but thinks “there needs to be more spaces for sharing the work. And that’s why I’m excited to be curator at Ramp Gallery, to open the door to new and diverse artistic practices, while giving real experiences to the students about to embark on their own creative careers”.

Contemporary art encompasses such a varied field, each project challenges the artist to learn and develop new skills and strategies to extend their work, but her favourite works are ones that are socially engaged.

“The gallery is space where as an artist, you’re really testing out your commitment to the [art] work that you've made.”

Ramp Gallery opening hours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 10am-2pm during the teaching semesters. Exhibitions can also be opened at other times by appointment for group visits. View the Ramp Gallery website and follow along on Facebook or Instagram to be in the loop. 

Find out more about The School of Media Arts Contemporary Art pathway at Wintec | Te Pūkenga.

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