City advocates for increased Art Gallery funding

Published on Monday, 12 February 2024 at 10:43:45 AM

City of Bunbury CEO Alan Ferris and Mayor Jaysen de San Miguel, Minister David Templeman MLA with City of Greater Geraldton representatives – Deputy Mayor Natasha Colliver, Director Community and Culture Fiona Norling and Mayor Jerry Clune.

Continuing to offer high-class arts and cultural experiences at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery (GRAG) is front of mind with the City of Greater Geraldton advocating to the state government for increased funding.

City representatives met with Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Arts David Templeman MLA recently, alongside representatives from the City of Bunbury, to jointly advocate for an increase in operational funding for both GRAG and Bunbury Regional Art Gallery.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Jerry Clune said it was positive to present a unified approach from both galleries.

“Art galleries play an important role in connecting art and place, while providing the regional community with access to high profile works and travelling shows,” he said.

“Both Geraldton and Bunbury’s respective galleries are A-Class facilities and a number of years ago our galleries saw a significant reduction in funding from the state government.

“It was great that the Minister was receptive to the concerns we highlighted around not seeing any annual increase in funds, despite escalating costs, such as staffing and materials, as well as the maintenance requirements associated with the upkeep and running of heritage buildings.”

With the absence of increased support from the state government, both local governments also raised concerns surrounding being able to maintain an A-Class standard at both galleries, which is required to attract touring exhibitions.

GRAG contributes to a vibrant art scene in the Midwest, while providing an arts and cultural experience for visitors and tourists, supporting social connection and mental health, while promoting a distinct artistic voice, character and personality for the region.

Programming extends beyond the physical walls of the gallery, through the coordination and delivery of outdoor exhibitions and an extensive public art program.

GRAG has proved highly valued to the Geraldton and Midwest community, with consistently high attendance and participation rates. Exhibition attendance in 2022-2023 was over 9,550 visitors, with 18 exhibitions hosted, plus many other activities including workshops and public art opportunities. 

Collective foot traffic to GRAG and the Visitor Centre was over 40,000 in 2022-2023.

The City will now await the outcome of the state government’s annual budget process later in the year, in the hope of a positive outcome in response to the City’s advocacy efforts.

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