House debates

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Constituency Statements

Lismore Regional Gallery

9:45 am

Photo of Kevin HoganKevin Hogan (Page, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

There is a big birthday this month. You may have heard of it—word is going around in the community. In October it will be the Lismore Regional Gallery's 60th birthday. There is going to be a party in a few weeks time to celebrate this milestone. I acknowledge Brett Adlington, the Director of the Lismore Regional Gallery, and also Pru Regan, who is part of the Friends of the Gallery.

Lismore Regional Gallery is the fifth-oldest regional gallery in New South Wales. It was opened on 24 October in 1954 by the Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Hal Missingham. The gallery reflects the tremendous foresight and support of the local community, starting with establishing the first annual art prize in 1953, and the second annual prize marked the gallery's opening in 1954.

Lismore Regional Gallery is an important cultural asset for Lismore, its surrounding towns and villages and indeed the whole district. It initiates national and international art exhibitions for the benefit of the local community. Recent examples are its self-initiated Afghanistan exhibition, with the artist travelling to Lismore. Its well-regarded Not Quite Square exhibition on local architecture went on to exhibit at the Tin Sheds Gallery at the University of Sydney. As well, it has sponsored the Archibald travelling exhibition which is due to exhibit next year in February. As well, it sees its role as supporting local artists and the strong creative industries which the Northern Rivers is fortunate enough to have and to be able to foster.

Unfortunately, Lismore Regional Gallery is often not able to show some exhibitions it generates because it has outgrown its space. For example, its artist in residence last year, the internationally acclaimed photographer Laurence Aberhart, had to hold his show in Sydney at the Museum of Contemporary Art because the Lismore Regional Gallery had space issues. Lismore Regional Gallery also has a collection worth around $2 million, but not all can be on display.

It has, amazingly enough, 30,000 visitors a year—a great figure in a city with not much more of a population than that. The creative industries, which the gallery supports through its programming, are a strong employment sector in the Northern Rivers. It also benefits from being a good supporter of the art courses at Southern Cross University and Lismore TAFE, putting it in a unique position for a regional gallery.

Lismore is a creative area. Creative Lismore, a recently formed alliance of 14 arts organisations in the district, has the vision for Lismore to become Australia's regional prominent centre for arts and creativity. The community and arts industry support has remained undimmed over these 60 years, and it is an asset and a benefit for the area and the community. I congratulate the present and past directors, staff and supporters who have contributed to the Lismore Regional Gallery.