THE ART OF REINVENTION: Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery Manager Nicola Holly has returned from the fifth national regional art gallery conference in Bendigo with some fresh ideas. Photo Emma Boughen / The Bush Telegraph
THE ART OF REINVENTION: Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery Manager Nicola Holly has returned from the fifth national regional art gallery conference in Bendigo with some fresh ideas. Photo Emma Boughen / The Bush Telegraph Emma Boughen

Nicola paints a fresh approach

IT'S not enough for art galleries just to hang paintings on a wall and expect visitors, they need to give people a reason to walk through the doors.

This was the take-home message Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery manager Nicola Holly brought home from the fifth National Gallery Summit in Bendigo recently.

"We shouldn't be stifled because we're a regional gallery," she said.

"We have this beautiful space and this year I'm going to worker harder at utilising it better."

Backed by a professional development bursary from Museum and Gallery Services Queensland, Miss Holly travelled to Bendigo for the three-day conference, themed The Art of Reinvention.

Day one kicked off with a tour of the Bendigo Art Gallery, one of the largest regional galleries in Australia.

"One of the main things BAG did to reinvigorate itself was their programming schedule - their director Karen Quinlan, along with the backing of council, was able to secure international exhibitions never before seen in Australia," Miss Holly said.

"Their extremely successfully fashion exhibitions drew record crowds and proved to local government that the art gallery was a draw for the town."

Chief executive officer of the Australia Council for the Arts Tony Grybowski was the keynote speaker for day two.

Miss Holly said that afternoon the conference heard from a number of regional galleries which had reinvented themselves.

"What I learnt was that we can't expect these things to happen overnight," she said.

"This year I'm planning to take the art outdoors with painting in the park."

There will also be a series of children's workshops open to the public from April 14-18.

"We have a wonderful institution held in high esteem nationally, which means we must be doing something right," Miss Holly said.

"But there's always room for improvement and this year we're off to an exciting start with a fresh lick of paint and I want people to know that we're here and our door is always open.

"People are always surprised by what they connect and interact with."

Current works from the SDRC collection are on display in the upper gallery including its prized Margaret Olley paintings.

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