Gallery director is delighted to be exceeding expectations
WHEN I imagined what the future of a new gallery in Lismore would look like, I had visions of a place that was a pretty decent step up from our old digs.
Sure, the old building had a certain charm but it was lacking in so many essential elements of what a modern gallery should be.
I knew we'd get more people through the door and I knew we'd be able to attract very different exhibitions. But, to be honest, my expectations have been far exceeded.
I'd cautiously predicted we'd get about 55,000 visits annually into the building but in four months we've seen 33,000 people.
There have been out-of- town bus trips, school visits, national media broadcasts and a whole sea of new faces that we'd never previously seen in the old gallery.
I also knew that we could not survive on being just a new building. It's what's inside that counts.
To that end, to be able to present back-to-back international shows is something I never dreamed possible. EuroVisions: Contemporary Art from the Goldberg Collection was an incredible show to present, made up of a who's who of current international art.
This has been followed by Beguile, which brings together work by some of art history's biggest names - Rembrandt, Picasso, Goya, Renoir, Miro and Chagall.
These original lithographs, etchings and seriographs not only chart the work of these artists but also show the development of printmaking and the relationship between the artist and master printer.
While these exhibitions are obviously important projects for us to stage, collaborating with local artists is something to which we are deeply committed.
Since we opened, of the 123 artists whose work we have shown, 80 have been local.
One of the key ones, and an artist whose work people are coming specifically to see, is Geoff Hannah and his incredible Hannah Cabinet.
I've known Geoff since I was a kid, so it was exciting to see his recent awarding of an Order of Australia Medal.
A fitting tribute to one of our finest.
NB: Brett's column "View From the Gallery” will be a new feature of The Echo's new arts precinct page (from April 12), which will also take in news from The Con and The Quad.