The local Ballina community and the Northern Rivers Community Gallery are at odds over exhibiting opportunities for local artists. (CREDIT: Adam Daunt)
The local Ballina community and the Northern Rivers Community Gallery are at odds over exhibiting opportunities for local artists. (CREDIT: Adam Daunt)

Hundreds sign petition on changes to Ballina art gallery

LOCAL Ballina residents and the Northern Rivers Community Gallery are at odds over changes to the gallery's exhibition time frame.

Previously, Northern Rivers Community Gallery changed artist exhibits monthly, however, exhibits are now shown for two months following the change in 2019.

In response, local residents from the community rallied together to express their dismay via a petition over the exhibiting opportunities diminishing for local artists.

"It also means that all the general public, and it is a community gallery, … would have 50 per cent less art to go and see, which is not the way we thought it should go," Paul Button, co-organiser of the petition, said.

However, the NRCG said that from their feedback, artists are relishing the chance at longer exposure.

"NRCG has received positive feedback from exhibiting artists who receive more exposure as a result of the longer exhibition period."

Mr Button said that the gallery appears to be drifting away from it's community focus in recent times.

"What we think is they may have lost their way in terms of trying to be more of a regional gallery, a Sydney gallery or whatever they're endeavouring to do we don't know," Mr Button said.

The NRCG said the changes which created this issue were meant to benefit the community in other ways.

"Council has identified that maintaining the monthly exhibition program would reduce the resourcing and staff capacity to deliver these complementary creative programs that NRCG has built a reputation for, and, which have unique cultural and educational value for the entire community," a spokesperson said.

The petition has recorded over 400 signatures and Mr Button said he hoped the council and the gallery would be flexible.

"There are two situations, maybe a compromise … there are five exhibition areas, maybe some of the areas (could change) every two weeks or every month to ensure there is still variety … but what we would like to do is go back to monthly," Mr Button said.

The gallery said that the changes simply bring the organisation in-line with other galleries around the country.

"Current gallery programming time frames are based on professional industry standards across similar public regional and community gallery spaces across Australia," a spokesperson said.

The gallery is an important part of the Ballina community, last year it supported 226 artists made up of 94 artists exhibited, 74 artist shop suppliers, 52 artists employed, six visiting artists.


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