Stan­thorpe Re­gional Art Gallery pre­pares for an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions:

Stanthorpe Border Post - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

PHOTO: KIM MICKE

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.

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