Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery prepares for anniversary celebrations:
AS the Stanthorpe Art Gallery and Library prepares for 30th anniversary celebrations, Sue Whitton has trawled back through her memory bank to recall a time pre-Weeroona Park building.
She served as secretary for the gallery when artwork still lined the rooms of the council building.
“Fred Rogers was the chairman of the Stanthorpe Shire Council at the time of construction of the current council chambers and he took advantage of every avenue available of obtaining grant money for the shire. Consequently, a designated area for an art gallery was included in the design.
“The Apple and Grape had previously acquired paintings through the art festival and this meant they could have a place to be stored and exhibited to the public. Not having funds available to hire a gallery director, the council decided to call a meeting of local arts and craftspeople to form a committee to run the gallery free of charge.
“I was president of the pottery club at the time and keen that pottery should have a large profile in any event that was happening and consequently agreed to take on the role of secretary.
“Doug Croston, local artist and photographer, became president. Therese Burton, president of the Stanthorpe Art Group, also became a committee member.
“There was also a council representative who I can’t recall the name of... and maybe two others.
“We hung paintings in the designated council chambers and our selection often met with disapproval if we put paintings that were a little controversial, and not traditional, on their walls.
“As time went on, we became the committee that ran the arts festival as well.”
She remained in the role until 1984, working closely with presidents Doug Croston and Bill Bonner.
“My most memorable exhibitions, apart from the Apple and Grape exhibitions, were the annual pottery exhibitions of local potters that were almost a total sell-out.
“As a consequence of substantial prize money allocated to ceramics in the biennial arts festival, we have one of the best public ceramic collections, I venture to say in Australia.
“I hold many happy memories of my involvement on the committee during this time,” Sue said.
FOND MEMORIES: Sue Whitton (centre) speaks glowingly of her time as secretary of the former art gallery committee before the current gallery/library was built.