Com­ing full cir­cle

Art galler y di­rec­tor is back to where her ca­reer started Bail re­fused over fake gun charge

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News - By ANITA McPHER­SON

THE Wangaratta Art Gallery’s newly ap­pointed di­rec­tor Si­mone Nolan is al­ready some­what fa­mil­iar with the gallery space she is now man­ag­ing.

Ms Nolan grew up in Tar­rawingee and started her ca­reer work­ing as one of the first ex­hi­bi­tions of­fi­cer at the gallery un­der its for­mer di­rec­tor, Dianne Man­gan.

Hav­ing stud­ied a fine arts de­gree and prac­tised as an artist, the spe­cial­ist cu­ra­tor says she has now come full cir­cle – spend­ing some time in the city work­ing at the Heide Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art and Couni­han Gallery be­fore re­turn­ing with her fam­ily to live and work in North East Vic­to­ria about six years ago.

The role of gallery di­rec­tor is one Ms Nolan is ex­cited about and she plans con­tinue to build on the pro­gram­ming al­ready put in place by her pre­de­ces­sor.

“I have full re­spect for Dianne Man­gan’s legacy - the fact that she started a col­lec­tion in a re­gional gallery for this area is re­ally great for­ward plan­ning,” she said.

“The value of hav­ing a col­lec­tion for this town is won­der­ful – it tells the town’s story, it iden­ti­fies the town’s story - and that is some­thing I’d like to con- tinue to grow and de­velop.”

Ms Nolan said she wants to con­tinue the high qual­ity pro­gram­ming, while bring­ing the kinds of ex­hi­bi­tions to the re­gional area that would nor­mally only be seen in a city space.

“I’d like to ex­pose peo­ple to con­tem­po­rary art and new ideas and chal­lenge peo­ple in healthy ways,” she said.

“I re­ally love that art has some won­der­ful con­nec­tions to men­tal health, helps peo­ple self­assess and gets com­mu­ni­ties to re­sponds in dif­fer­ent ways.

“From chil­dren up to our older gen­er­a­tions, it’s re­ally im­por­tant that peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence art and I want to bring it to them with­out them even re­al­is­ing it.”

Ms Nolan said com­mu­nity en­gage­ment was im­por­tant to her vi­sion and she planned to con- tinue to wel­come lo­cal schools and stu­dents while mak­ing ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to peo­ple of all ages.

“I want Wangaratta to feel that they have an im­por­tant part in the gallery - that they own it and that it is theirs to be in­volved with and en­joy - and I’m hop­ing that I can match the pro­gram­ming to their en­joy­ment,” she said.

A MAN charged with point­ing an im­i­ta­tion gun at two peo­ple in a car is set to con­test the charges.

Joel Flana­gan, 35, of no fixed ad­dress, made an ap­pli­ca­tion for bail at Wangaratta Mag­is­trates’ Court yes­ter­day but was re­fused by Mag­is­trate John O’Cal­laghan on the grounds he had failed to show cause.

Po­lice in­for­mant Se­nior Con­sta­ble Imo­gene Gille­spie of Wangaratta po­lice said Flana­gan al­legedly pointed the im­i­ta­tion gun - a cig­a­rette lighter - at two peo­ple in a car near the in­ter­sec­tion of Ely and Mur­phy streets at around 8am on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 1.

The court heard the al­leged vic­tims were off-duty New South Wales po­lice of­fi­cers who called triple zero af­ter Flana­gan al­legedly pre­tended to pull the trig­ger on the lighter twice while aim­ing the gun at them.

Po­lice im­me­di­ately re­sponded to the scene and ar­rested Flana­gan a short dis­tance away at the laneway next to the Pin­sent Ho­tel in Reid Street, and found the lighter in his right front jeans pocket.

Se­nior Con­sta­ble Gille­spie said Flana­gan told po­lice he was wav­ing the im­i­ta­tion gun at birds and pre­tend­ing to shoot them. He de­nied point­ing it at the al­leged vic­tims. The court heard the im­i­ta­tion gun was small in size, but closely re­sem­bled a gun with brand­ing and a se­rial num­ber in­cluded on the metal frame.

De­fence solic­i­tor Ge­off Clancy said the im­i­ta­tion gun could be bought from a ser­vice sta­tion and an ini­tial un­signed state­ment from one of the vic­tims in­di­cated he was not fear­ful.

But Mr O’Cal­laghan said the vic­tims, be­ing po­lice of­fi­cers, “may be of fairly strong con­sti­tu­tion”, an at­tribute which could have less­ened their fear lev­els.

“Most peo­ple don’t get a cig­a­rette lighter pointed at them and pre­tend fired at them twice,” he said.

Mr O’Cal­laghan said gen­eral de­ter­rence for such in­ci­dents in the pub­lic needed to be con­sid­ered.

The court heard Flana­gan had an ex­ten­sive crim­i­nal his­tory in Vic­to­ria, New South Wales and Queensland and was on bail for other mat­ters at the time.

He will reap­pear at court at a later date.

ART SPACE: Beech­worth-based Si­mone Nolan (pic­tured) has been ap­pointed the new di­rec­tor of the Wangaratta Art Gallery. PHOTO: Luke Plum­mer

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