On the move

It is obvious, the local community is greatly attached to the Gallery at Stewart Street. I have been asked countless times why it needs to move. The saying goes, “if I had a dollar for every time I was asked.” The answer is quite simple. Undeniably, the Stewart Street Gallery is a striking building with outstanding features such as the vaulted ceiling, but it is severely lacking in the most practical aspects for an art gallery.

When receiving one recent exhibition, Play On: The Art of Sport / Ten Years of the Basil Sellars Art Prize, two of the crates did not fit through the door. To make matters worse it was raining. Unpacking crates on the street is not a good look at the best of times and is simply out of the question in the rain.

Stewart Street has no loading bay on the street frontage, let alone attached to the building. Delivery vehicles hope that there is an empty space out the front or risk a fine by parking in the bus zone. There are no amenities in the building and patrons are asked to use the public toilets outside. There is no storage and the entrance would be non-compliant by today’s standards. Unseen by patrons, is the cramped office environment that is either sweltering in summer or freezing in winter.

When I worked at the Gallery in 2009, a feasibility study was being undertaken for an extension. This was not the first study. Vast improvements have been made to the building, but not to the extent to resolve some of the fundamental requirements for a regional gallery.

The move to the paranaple arts centre in Rooke Street is a giant leap forward. Not only does it address the shortcomings of Stewart Street (access, climate control, storage, public amenities, etc.) it also results in significant gains in exhibition space – which is really all the patron should be concerned with. The patron does not want to know about loading bays…

Stewart Street has approximately 140 square metres of floor space and with the built alcoves out of ‘temporary’ walls, has approximately 70 running metres of running wall space. The new Gallery will have just on 300 square metres of floorspace and approximately 116 running metres of wall space.

In addition is a 60 square metre room we are calling the Creative Space. It is a serviceable space to conduct workshops, hold meetings or use an exhibition space if necessary.

I have the pleasure of wearing a hardhat and safety vest to undertake a fortnightly site-visit. It makes an arts and culture guy feel rather manly. Each time I visit the construction site I get a better sense for the space. Last week the walls were lined. Soon it will be painted throughout. Then the carpet, joinery and finishing touches.

We will open on Friday 2 November with the opening of Tidal: City of Devonport Art Award. I cannot think of a more appropriate exhibition. Tidal is a highlight of our calendar that brings some of the most interesting contemporary work from throughout Australia to public view in Devonport.

The exhibition responds to the theme of tidal coastal living, characteristic of our region. We will also be opening with an exhibition from our Robinson Collection. Our Curator Erin Wilson has been working diligently to collate a series of fascinating oral histories in relation to images from the Robinson Collection.

In Your Words: The Robinson Project contains over 100,000 photographic negatives capturing the social and commercial life in the region during the 20th century. It has opened this extensive collection to members of the Devonport community, who have explored the archive, selected negatives that resonate with them, and recorded oral histories elicited by these photographs.

In Your Words exhibition will bring together thirty photographs selected by nine members of the Devonport community, presented alongside oral history excerpts, both text and audio, through which they share their memories and stories of the region, in their own words.

I am looking forward to the move. It will bring together staff from our Gallery, Theatre and Visitor Information Centre into the one building and operation. It will result in a team of people capable of delivering unknown potential. The possibilities for the future look very exciting.

~ Geoffrey Dobson, Convention & Arts Director

Paranaple Arts Centre

Images:
Allan Francis, Baptist Church once; Art Gallery now 1987, from Homes of Devon 6: Open House, b&w photograph, DCC Permanent Collection, acc. 1987.029
Courthouse, Devonport, n.d. The Robinson Collection, R5844, DCC Permanent Collection

International Museums Day at DRG – 18 May 2017

This year Devonport Regional Gallery marked International Museums Day by inviting members of the Gallery’s Friends Committee, Special Interest Group, and the Droogs young members, to trawl through the DCC Permanent Collection. Each selected a work that spoke to them, and then presented their thoughts, findings and insights about the works at our International Museums Day event.

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Viv Breheney presenting Patsy Adam Smith, by Edith Holmes

Several participants were drawn to portraits, with Special Interest Group member Viv Breheney selecting a painting of Patsy Adam Smith by Edith Holmes, as she also knew both women personally, and had colourful anecdotes to share. Barbie Kjar’s work Falling Cups was selected by Friends Committee President Karen Mathew. This work was highlighted on our blog recently, so Karen’s selection presented a great opportunity to bring the work out in the flesh for discussion.

Friends Committee Member Robert Apse selected a raku bowl by Harold Ramsden, who he has known personally. As Ramsden taught ceramics at Devonport TAFE in the 1980s, several audience members were familiar with his work, and following Robert’s discussion of the raku bowl other members of the audience with an interest and expertise in ceramics, shared their own knowledge about Ramsden and his work.

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Robert Apse presenting Harold Ramsden’s Raku bowl

Another Droog, Eleanor McCormack trawled through some of the collection’s works on paper, before being drawn to a print by Jim Logan titled Lamina Mneumonic. Eleanor delved into the meaning behind the work, discussing ideas of the physical body vs. the mental, and the problematic nature of our bodies being the way people see us, rather than considering our ideas.

Two photographs from the Robinson Collection were selected for quite different, but both personal reasons. One was selected by Brian Sollors, who devotes his time every week to scanning negatives from the Robinson Collection. Brian presented both the original negative, which shows the façade of the Robinson & Son Photographic Studio in Devonport, alongside a print of the image, which he had recently scanned and worked on for our upcoming exhibition Past & Present Tense: 20 years of the Robinson Collection, opening in July.

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Ellie Ray with a Robinson Collection negative, for Brian Sollors’ presentation

Another Robinson Collection print was selected by one of the gallery casual staff members and Droog, Sarah Beckett. Sarah was immediately taken by the image, which shows two young girls in a manicured backyard, as it sparked early memories from the house she grew up in in New South Wales, long after this photograph was taken in Tasmania. Sarah shared some of her formative memories from this house, as well as reflecting on how she could relate so strongly to an image of a house she had never set foot in. The audience members were able again to shed more light on the work, identifying the location where this house still stands in Devonport.

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Sarah Beckett presenting a Robinson Collection print

This year’s International Museums Day event provided a unique opportunity for those who dedicate their time and energy to supporting the gallery, to get a behind the scenes look at the DCC Permanent Collection. The event also proved a valuable opportunity for members of the community to see works otherwise kept in storage, to hear the insights of other community members, and to share in the discussion of the works in the DCC Permanent Collection.

National Youth Week 2017

This year Devonport Regional Gallery extended its National Youth Week programming after receiving funding from the Tasmanian Community Fund. This allowed the Gallery to offer a paid mentorship opportunity for a young person to develop event and project management skills.

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Reclaim in full swing. Photographer: Kelly Slater

The Sketchbook Project Exhibition, 31 March – 8 April

Across six weeks from the end of February, young people across the North West collected a handmade sketchbook to fill with their drawings, ideas and writing using pencil, ink, paint, charcoal, collage, pastel and more as part of the Devonport Sketchbook Project.

The Devonport Regional Gallery and their young members committee, The Droogs presented The Sketchbook Project Exhibition at Devonport LINC. A total of 88 sketchbooks featured in this public exhibition from 31 March – 8 April.

The Sketchbook Project celebrates and promotes young people and their talents in the North West, and provides a space for public viewing of their work.

Youth Rewind, 1 – 2 April

Free activities and workshops took place across the two days of Youth Rewind, including live music performances by young musicians and a community jam, meditation, yoga and dance workshops and sand art activities.

The focus of Youth Rewind was to promote positive wellbeing and for young people to socialise, exercise and learn coping mechanisms with their peers in a fun and relaxed setting.

Reclaim the Lane, 7 April

For its sixth consecutive year, Reclaim the Lane returned to Rooke Lane, Devonport, on Friday 7 April, 3.30–5.30 pm to an audience of approximately 700 people. The free event transformed Rooke Lane into a vibrant celebration of youth arts and music for all ages to enjoy.

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KT Hollywood with her work. Photographer: Kelly Slater

Burnie artist, KT Hollywood was this year’s resident artist and she created a new work in the lane. Reclaim the Lane also featured various art-making areas this year; a collaborative ‘Massive Mandala’ led by young, local artist Rachel Kumar, and a Zentangle class led by Launceston CZT, Michele Beauchamp. The popular event also featured the Red Turtle photo booth, a henna tattoo artist, face painting by the Droogs, performances by Mr Inferno and Jayden Mineur, and interactive stalls by youth service providers.

Outside Laneway Café there were also two musical workshops; a percussion workshop run by local musician Brad Von Rock, and a ukulele workshop, facilitated by young talent, Grace Maher. The space was popular with all ages.

A small Youth Market was established this year, focusing on giving young emerging makers and artisans a chance to sell their work.

Live music by young local performers entertained audiences throughout the event with performances by students at Geneva Christian College, Melinda Powell, Tia and Siobhan, Henry Rippon and Molly O’Brien.

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Photographer: Kelly Slater

For the second consecutive year, windows of local Rooke Lane businesses were also transformed by young people as they expressed their views and goals for the future, responding to ‘What I would like to change about myself”, ‘What I would like to change about Devonport’ and ‘What I would like to change about the world’.

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The Droogs at their stall at Reclaim the Lane. Photographer: Kelly Slater

Reclaim the Lane is organised by Devonport Regional Gallery and its young members, the Droogs, in partnership with Devonport City Council and Youth, Family and Community Connections. The event was jointly funded by the Department of Premier and Cabinet National Youth Week funding program, YFCC and Devonport City Council.

It’s a wrap

Well not quite… the end of the year sees the Tidal Award Exhibition on show and receiving great feedback; the Tidal Artisan Street Market opens this Friday 9 December at 3pm and the inaugural Tidal Festival kicks off on the 23 January 2017!

Winding the clock back to the first half of the year, key works from each decade of collecting were presented in the Forty Year Survey of the DCC Permanent Collection exhibition; new paintings and studies by Anne Morrison attracted many visitors to the Gallery and the touring exhibition Katherine Hattam: Desire First provided visitors with the opportunity to view a survey of paintings and sculptures by this renowned Melbourne artist. Evening workshops were fully booked and school groups were inspired by these engaging displays, observing, writing and making art in the exhibition space.

Images (clockwise from left): Curator Emily Kennel speaking about 40 Years of Collecting; Katherine Hattam; install view Anne Morrison: Preservation and Loss

The cold weather did not deter visitors from visiting the Gallery while the Lyons Share exhibition was on display. Featuring photographs of the famous Lyons family made by the Robinson Photographic Business in Devonport, and items on loan from Home Hill – the Lyons’ family home, the exhibition engaged audiences on various levels. Some members of the public relayed fascinating stories about their contact with the Lyons family while others shared their memories of the famous couple attending events in Devonport. Alongside this exhibition was a display of prints from the DCC Permanent Collection presented in conjunction with the Print Council of Australia’s 50th Anniversary. A highlight of the exhibition was a series of prints by Bea Maddock [b1934, d2016].

The 2016 Solo Commission featured large scale B&W photographs and video work by North West artist Lisa Garland. After a huge opening night, the gallery continued to be filled with visitors captivated by the characters represented in Garland’s works – and of course, many of these characters came to view their life-size portraits. Our final touring exhibition for the year was the fascinating Shapeshifters: 3D Printing the Future where the public could witness a 3D printer in action and view the many applications for 3D printing including those used in architecture, building, medicine, furniture making and art. We were pleased to showcase seven emerging Tasmanian artist’s exhibitions in The Little Gallery and were encouraged by many of these artist’s enthusiasm and level of skills when presenting workshops.

Images (clockwise from left): 2016 Solo Commission artist Lisa Garland; install view The Lyons Share; Lisa Garland twilight tour

Punctuated throughout the exhibition program have been many great projects including Reclaim the Lane held as part of National Youth Week, Four 8 Film Festival, film-making workshops, PORTAL community photography project and exhibition; various art-making workshops and talks; Books + Art monthly discussions; early years and school programs and concerts. Outside the Gallery the Droogs completed a street art project on the laneway wall of Devonport Bookshop and participated in Make Your Mark at TMAG while DRG showcased items from the DCC Collection in Hobart on two separate occasions.

Images (clockwise from top left): Droogs mural at Devonport Bookshop; Drawn Home workshop participants; Four 8 Film Festival screening; Nick Parish Trio; 1, 2, 3 Create participants; education programs at the Gallery; Reclaim the Lane; Nightscape Photography.

Of course, the foundation for everything DRG presents is mainly constructed ‘behind the scenes’ and for this I wish to thank all of my staff for their input and commitment to the arts in 2016. With a few weeks left until the end of the year we hope to see you at the Gallery to view Tidal or perhaps we will cross paths at the Artisan Street Market this Friday. In the spirit of the festive season: have a safe and relaxing summer and we look forward to seeing you soon at DRG.

– Ellie Ray, Director

Young people reclaim the lane

For its fifth consecutive year, Reclaim the Lane returned to Rooke Lane kicking off National Youth Week in Devonport on Friday 8 April, 3–5 pm to an audience of over 500 people. The free event transformed Rooke Lane into a vibrant celebration of youth arts and music for all ages to enjoy.

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Launceston artist, Josh Foley was this year’s resident artist and he created a new work in the lane. Visitors throughout the day saw Josh in action as he created the work on the concrete retaining wall between Rooke Lane and Payne Avenue car park, completing it at 5 pm.

“Using abstract painterly motifs I will seek to imbue the area with colour, life, vitality and movement which are all celebrations of youth. As young people grow they seek to leave their mark and brighten up the world around them; by eradicating the drab grey of the concrete the work aims to represent this. The coloured motifs will also dance across the background in a musical way which eludes to the importance music has in the life of a young person as they seek to define themselves among their peers.” – Josh Foley

View a time lapse video of Josh Foley creating his work on YouTube here

Reclaim the Lane also featured various art-making activities including a collective colouring-in zone by Devonport Regional Gallery, Red Turtle photo booth, a henna tattoo artist and face painter, performances by Slipstream Circus, The Sketchbook Project exhibition and interactive stalls by youth service providers Headspace, Working it out, Mi Fellowship and Youth, Family and Community Connections.

Live music by young local performers entertained audiences throughout the event with performances by students at Geneva Christian College, Zac Weeks, Patrick Murphy, Josh Tomé and Molly O’Brien.

Windows of local laneway businesses were also transformed by young people as they expressed their views and goals for the future, responding to ‘Before I die I want to…’, ‘What I like in Devonport’ and ‘What I’d like to change about Devonport’.

Reclaim the Lane is organised by Devonport Regional Gallery and its young members, the Droogs, in partnership with Devonport City Council and Youth, Family and Community Connections. The event is jointly funded by the Department of Premier and Cabinet National Youth Week funding program and Devonport City Council.

Photographer: Kelly Slater

Final day

It’s the final day of the Tidal Festival, and what a week it has been! I’m sitting at my work desk at Devonport Regional Gallery listening to the sounds of the Tidal Festival choir bringing together music for their performance at the Final Hurrah later this afternoon – all within the space of this two hour choral workshop.

Over the Festival I received many comments from returning workshop participants concerned about my health and possible lack of sleep with daytime and evening workshops and events filling my calendar – but, I must say that whilst my sleep has been interrupted by an active mind and busy schedule, the Festival week has been an absolute blast! We have had a fabulous line-up of workshop tutors and presenters, which has left me proud and also inspired! I hope you have been too.

Thanks to everyone who has supported the Tidal Festival this year.

Dianne Sheehan
Education & Public Programs Officer at Devonport Regional Gallery

Here’s a snapshot of my week:

Setting up the Tidal Zone with artist-in-residence Marcus Tatton, Wednesday 28 January
Setting up the Tidal Zone with artist-in-residence Marcus Tatton, Wednesday 28 January
Coloured Waters workshop with Sandy Michell, Tuesday 27 January
Coloured Waters workshop with Sandy Michell, Tuesday 27 January
Children's workshops at the Tidal Zone
Children’s workshops at the Tidal Zone
Marcus working on his sculptures, Mersey Bluff
Marcus working on his sculptures, Mersey Bluff
The Tidal Zone with Marcus Tatton
The Tidal Zone with Marcus Tatton
Me in one of Marcus's 'Seaspores'
Me in one of Marcus’s ‘Seaspores’
A 'spy hole' from Marcus Tatton's Seaspores at Mersey Bluff
A ‘spy hole’ from Marcus Tatton’s Seaspores at Mersey Bluff

Devonport Regional Gallery – I am a fan

The longer I spend on the Coast, the more I am impressed with the team at Devonport Regional Gallery. Their philosophy, branding (that yellow!) exhibition and educational programs are all equal to any I have seen and I am so proud to have them as my local regional gallery .  This year’s TIDAL award and finalist exhibition is a case it point. The award attracted over 250 entries and the quality of the finalist exhibition, which is still running in the gallery, is fantastic.  I was so impressed by all the finalist including those highly recommended, Liam James and Troy Ruffels, as well as the winner, Joel Crosswell for his work Galaxias. If you haven’t seen it yet, take the time to do so before it closes on the 1st of February, 2015.

I have attempted to be involved in everything I can that the gallery is doing.  Attending openings being my main occupation but at the end of last year I attended the ‘Photosmart’ workshop on smart phone photography with my Mum which was great fun.

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This year has started with a full line up thanks to the TIDAL Festival which is currently happening. I have already participated in two of the TIDAL Festival’s workshops in the first two days, (I would love to attend them all but I am not sure I will quite manage that).

So far I have participated in the ‘Coloured Waters’ watercolour workshop at the Sound Shell, The Bluff, with local artist Sandy Michell. There we spent two hours in beautiful sunshine playing with water and pigment as Sandy encouraged us to let the water paint the image rather than restricting the pigment with the stroke of our brush.

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Last night I was one of the 20 who attended the ‘Get Blogging’ workshop with Hilary Burden and enjoyed the group process, the opportunity to focus my attention on how I can improve my own blog and hearing from someone who has been blogging successfully for many years.

Tonight – its the ‘Forum: Coastal Conversations’, and I am really looking forward to hearing more about our local marine environment, of which I know very little despite thoroughly enjoying it, and how this may influence my own artistic practice.

So you can see I am thoroughly enjoying my local art scene – thankyou Devonport Regional Gallery.

Last night’s Get Blogging workshop

It was a lively workshop with nearly 20 participants, both new to blogging, and savvy. They came to “Get Blogging”: learn blogging basics,  improve their style, and explore various creative writing techniques to get the most out of blog posts. Held in the inspiring Devonport Regional Gallery hung with works from the National Finalists Exhibition. The Tidal People’s Choice Award will be announced on Sunday at the Gallery, 3-5pm.  Join us for nibbles and come back here to find out what our bloggers will write about next…

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Tide’s In!

Marcus Tatton's sculpture at the Bluff, work in progress for Tidal
Marcus Tatton’s sculpture at the Bluff, work in progress for Tidal

Tonight I met Hilary Burden. Hilary is a blogger. I don’t have any good ideas of what a blogger is or does. But Hilary promises to enlighten me and a room full of others in a 2-hour session. She seems bright and capable, so I present myself to her to mould me into a blogger like herself.  Jim

Jim's first blog post
Jess admires Jim’s first blog post

One day to go!

The Devonport Regional Gallery’s Tidal Festival starts today.

On the way in
Bass Strait on the way in | Photo: Hilary Burden

Hello, Hilary here! Excited to meet everyone signed up for the Get Blogging workshop at Devonport Regional Gallery tomorrow. (Thanks to Dianne for inviting me).

The workshop’s sold out, but you can check out our progress tomorrow – here – live – online – some time between 6pm and 8pm. Fingers crossed the gods are on our side and connections are a go-go in the Gallery! If so, there will be pix and yarns, and we’d love you to leave your comments.

Make sure you check out the rest of the Tidal program while you’re at it – lots to see and take part in and on until Feb 1st.