At the heart of the Sutton Heritage House and Garden Charitable Trust is the house, including a studio, built in 1962 for the renowned Canterbury artist and educator William Alexander Sutton–usually known as Bill Sutton (1917–2000).
Sutton’s house was designed by Tom Taylor, (1925–1995), a friend and teaching colleague and a sculptor; it is the only remaining Tom Taylor designed house in Christchurch which has retained its original design. Following the earthquakes of 2010/11, the Sutton House sits in the Red Zone, a large area of Christchurch which suffered severe damage both to land and buildings. Because of a unique set of circumstances, Sutton House is the only heritage residence in the whole of the Red Zone to survive.
Now owned by the city, the Trust leases the building from the council and administers the house, garden and surrounding park. Sutton House operates as an artist’s residence and studio in conjunction with Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and the Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury. When not in use by visiting artists, it is open for public visits, community talks, seminars, workshops and art exhibitions.
For the inaugural edition of TENT, Sutton Heritage House is partnering with Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artist run initiative, play_station.
Img. 1: Sutton Heritage House and Garden, 2021. Photo: John Collie. Courtesy of Christchurch Art Gallery
Img. 2: Interior of the Sutton Heritage House, showing Sutton’s easel. Photo: John Collie. Courtesy of Christchurch Art Gallery