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Gippsland Art Gallery celebrates 50 years!

The Gippsland Art Gallery celebrates its golden years.

The Gippsland Art Gallery, the first public art venue to open east of Melbourne, was established in 1965 as the Sale Regional Arts Centre, above the City Library in MacAlister Street, Sale.

A Victorian State Government Grant of £40,000 enabled construction of the Gallery, which was subsequently run by a Committee of Management. The Gallery was staffed entirely by volunteers until its first Director, Gwen Webb OAM, was appointed in 1976 and it continued to operate as a community gallery until 1994, when it came under the management of the newly formed Wellington Shire Council. In July 2015 the Gallery moved next door to the Port of Sale Business Centre, Sale as a temporary measure while its permanent home, the old Port of Sale Civic Centre, was redeveloped.

2015 marks the 50th anniversary since the Gallery first opened its doors. Over fifty years, six directors, eight curators and five location changes, the Sale Regional Arts Centre has become the Gippsland Art Gallery, one of regional Victoria’s leading public galleries with world class exhibitions. Each year the gallery hosts exhibitions of contemporary, modern and historical art and culture, featuring works by local, national and international artists. The Gallery currently has three exhibition spaces, a sculpture courtyard, a kid’s cube and an art reference library.

To celebrate this ‘golden’ feat the Gallery, and Wellington Shire Council have announced the publication of ‘Hindsight: Gippsland Art Gallery History & Collections 1965-2015′, made possible through the generous support of the Gallery’s Patron, John Leslie OBE. The book will be launched on the 50th anniversary of the Gallery’s official opening, on Friday 25 September at 6pm with guest speaker Peter Synan OAM, Historian. This major 448-page book features a full history of the Gallery; collection highlights (with explanatory texts), a complete catalogue of the collection, and an exhaustive appendix which documents all exhibitions, senior staff and committee members from 1965 to the present.

Since its establishment in 1965, the focus of the Collection has been Gippsland and the natural environment. The Gippsland Art Gallery currently owns 1,331 objects from both national and international artists, including but not limited to painting, sculpture, works on paper (drawings and prints), photographs, textiles, metalwork, woodwork, and indigenous and tribal art.

Early works in the collection show Gippsland in the mid-nineteenth century pre-colonisation, and later works reveal how the region has changed over the years. The Gallery’s collection grows each year through purchases and donations.  A selection of Collection works are on display at any one time, while other works in storage can be viewed by appointment.

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebrations, and the book launch on Friday 25 September at 6pm, the ‘Gippsland Print Award’ exhibition opens with the announcement of the 2015 winner of the $5,000 prize. Printmakers across the country were invited to enter the inaugural $5,000 acquisitive Gippsland Print Award, Australia’s newest biennial print award. The winning work will be acquired by the Gallery for its permanent collection. Artists were able to enter up to two original works, and every work submitted for the Award will be exhibited at the Gallery from 26 September to 22 November 2015.




Gippsland Art Gallery
50th Anniversary Celebrations
Friday 25 September, 2015 at 6pm



Images from top to bottom:

Photo: Victor Majzner

Hindsight: Gippsland Art Gallery History & Collections 1965-2015

Raymond Arnold, Regeneration, Derwent Valley Eucalypt, 1991, etching and drypoint on handmade paper, 137 x 77cm (sheet). Collection Gippsland Art Gallery. Reproduced courtesy the artist

This article, Gippsland Art Gallery celebrates 50 years!, first appeared on Art Almanac.