Art gallery boss shares how new facility will improve lives
IT'S A Wednesday night in Rockhampton and a tradie in hi-vis is intently working away.
His eyes are narrowed in deep concentration, sweat beetles his brow and his hands are slowly and carefully going through the motions he knows so well to avoid any mistake.
Beneath his practiced hand, the boat begins to take shape. White sails gently rustling in the wind, mottled timbers the colour of wine stains and burnt toffee are bent into shape and tightly coiled lines of rope defy gravity to stab the sky.
With the finishing touches complete, he sits back and sips a glass of beer to admire a job well done.
He's not on a work site, and he hasn't just built a boat. Instead, he's sitting in a crowded class at the Rockhampton Art Gallery. The acrylic watercolour of the boat before him is the latest challenge as part of the Lager and Landscapes public art class.
It's easy to think of an art gallery as a place where people go just to look at art. But galleries are so much more than that.
They're a place where people from all walks' of life come together to learn new skills and hone old ones. A place where children learn to play and where history comes to life in the exhibitions and paintings which adorn the walls.
At the start of the week, the sound of giggling toddlers echoes off the walls at a Messy Monday Bubs class only to fade off into silence as a yoga class takes up residence in the gallery for a meditation session.
The exhibitions change with the weeks and so do the visitors. Today travellers have driven hours from out West to see the travelling tour of the Melbourne Cup. Tomorrow, it's sporting clubs looking at memorabilia to celebrate the centenary of rugby league.
By the end of the week, after countless classes, visitors and conversations, a vinyl record player appears and Paul McCartney's voice softly echoes off the gallery walls to see out the rest of Sunday afternoon.
This is what art galleries do. They bring people together regardless of their passions, interests and hobbies and forge a sense of community.
The new art gallery will allow us to do this on a scale greater than ever before. It will allow us to show more, host more and do more for our residents.
It will be a space for individuals and families, children and the elderly, people who love art and those who have never been to a gallery before.
Galleries are not just for some - they are for everyone to enjoy and experience. And I personally cannot wait to show Rockhampton, and the rest of the world, what we have to offer when the new art gallery opens.
I hope to see you all there.
Rockhampton Art Gallery Director