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