Tracey heads back to where it all began on the Gold Coast
THERE have been challenges and triumphs along the way, but the Rockhampton Art Gallery has left its mark on Tracey Cooper-Lavery.
After almost five years, Tracey will farewell the Beef Capital and head to the Gold Coast as the city undergoes another cultural revolution ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
This will include a new cultural precinct and art gallery, which Tracey will direct.
For Tracey, it's a return home after she started her career on the Gold Coast in 1992.
"I started there as a curatorial assistant and stayed there for eight years so it's quite surreal to be going back there as the director," she said.
"There's exciting times ahead.
"I'm certainly very sad to be leaving Rockhampton.
"I feel like there's a lot of work that's unfinished here.
"I really hope that will continue and be finished in my absence.
"I think by broadening the exhibition schedule, the types of exhibitions and events we've been holding I think it's made the gallery more appealing to a bigger part of the community."
Looking back over her time in Rockhampton, Tracey said seeing the gallery's extensive contemporary art collection tour Australia was the achievement she was most proud of.
Cream: Four Decades of Australian Art has been on tour for roughly two years and has been viewed by nearly 90,000 people.
"It's been a fantastic opportunity for us to get some of our really significant works on the road," Tracey said.
"It was one of those things lots of people didn't believe we were actually doing it or that we managed to do it.
"But it's been a great success for the gallery.
"It's really raised the profile of the gallery and the collection.
"And it's certainly proven to people it really is the best collection in regional Queensland.
"I was very happy that everything came back before I left.
"It was good to see it back home where it belongs."
Tracey said the gallery was lucky to have such strong support from the community as well as the Rockhampton Regional Council and the Rockhampton Art Gallery Trust.