Many visitors to this art gallery ask: "What is The Suter?" While the answer is simple, it is also a longer story
that is worth telling.
The simple story is that The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatu is a memorial to the second Bishop of Nelson, Andrew Burn Suter (1830-1895). Bishop Suter and his wife Amelia travelled to Nelson in 1867 and soon became leading figures in Nelson's early cultural life.
It was the Bishop's 'long cherished' wish to present an art gallery to the people of Nelson. But in 1890, he suffered a debilitating stroke, later dying in 1895. Immediately after, Amelia took steps to realise her husband's dream. She gifted some land, money and Bishop Suter's art collection as the founding donation for a public art gallery in Nelson. Herself unwell, Amelia then returned to England and died barely a year after her husband.
Amelia left the building of a gallery in the hands of the founding Board of Trustees, comprising leading figures in Nelson society. In 1899 the 'Bishop Suter Art Gallery' was opening on this site and for more than a century, the people of the Nelson Tasman region and visitors to this place, have enjoyed the experience of art - just as Bishop Andrew and Amelia Suter desired.