Recognising the importance of the role of director
I was somewhat dismayed to read a letter in Friday's Courier, that while saddening in its inept criticism of our Art Gallery and its Director Gordon Morrison, is indicative of the arrogance of the champagne glass tinkling folk who seem to have no hesitation to attempt to dictate to the actual owners of this beautiful public asset, the ratepayers of Ballarat and our Association members.
To set the record straight Gordon and his small team have achieved near exponential growth in visitations over recent years, now near a quarter of a million last year. That is nearly three or four times that of the NGV in Melbourne per capita of population. The Gallery now is vibrant and alive with mums and kids, Next Gen VCE students , music, school programs , hard working guides and an ever changing program of brilliantly curated shows that exhibit the best in the visual arts and that draw as often as not on our own collection adding to fabulous loans and new acquisitions. The Gallery has also increased the breadth of contemporary acquisitions while developing the beautiful legacy of our historical collection despite your correspondents assertion.
Maybe your correspondent could have popped down to the Gallery on the weekend to see the Mexican community infused Day of the Dead celebrations and take in Julie McLarren's wonderfully curated Romancing the Skull rather than to lament that the appointment of a new director is not to his taste.
Far from an opaque process as the letter asserts ,our search for a new director is being conducted by an external recruitment firm experienced in senior arts appointments who will no doubt deliver a strong field to our City's selection panel before Gordon's departure next year.
Make no mistake Gordon and his team have made the Art Gallery of Ballarat the shining example of a regional gallery that is more than white walls waiting for a blockbuster amid a static legacy collection. It is a living busy active gallery the envy of regional galleries and many metropolitan institutions as well.It is because of the status he has achieved for Ballarat that the quality of candidates will be so high.
I would emplore those who want to impune any hard working public servant, get their facts straight and to perhaps think more before committing to public criticism.
The Art Gallery of Ballarat is a people's gallery and not a plaything of the elite.
Dr Mark Harris, Chair Art Gallery of Ballarat
Too valuable to lose
I write in support of the letter of D S Morgan re . the future of the Kirk. .As a former Presbyterian minister,now Uniting ,with family connections in Ballarat and surrounds for a long time I would like to support the preservation of all the Kirk has stood for and stands for historically over many years. Any inappropriate development would not be in accord with the history and traditions of the special Christian heritage in Ballarat.
Rev Bill Pugh,Sandringham
A study conducted by RMIT Environment Planning Professor Michael Buxton highlights the proliferation and detrimental effect of housing development on the fringes of urban and regional communities such as Ballarat (Courier 3/11). His study found that a 50 to 70 per increase in the Ballarat population could be entirely accommodated in existing suburbs but in the same article Ballarat mayor, Samantha McIntosh, states the council has already identified more areas for development over the next two decades. This approach endorses Professor Buxton's point that some councils are 'taking the lazy way out', not to mention the negative impact on families and community living.
Peter McIntosh, Ballarat