BALLARAT was overlooked to host the popular
The Art Gallery of Ballarat was one of a number of galleries considered for the exhibition which was awarded to Bendigo.
A month before
Along with a number of Australian capital cities, Ballarat was considered for the exhibition of fashion and accessories worn by the movie star-turned princess, but the collection went to Bendigo because of its record in presenting major international exhibitions.
Andrew Cannon, Honorary Consul of Monaco, last week told
Mr Cannon said he held Ballarat’s arts community in high regard, but considered Bendigo the obvious choice.
Bendigo Art Gallery director Karen Quinlan said
With considerable advertising support from Tourism Victoria, the current exhibition has seen a large boost to Bendigo’s tourism sector after being opened by Charlene, Princess of Monaco, in March.
The Bendigo gallery is set to receive a $7.5 million upgrade in coming months, with front and back of house facilities to be improved.
Art Gallery of Ballarat director Gordon Morrison said blockbuster shows were often not as lucrative as they appeared.
“The Art Gallery of Ballarat forged a partnership with the Art Gallery of New South Wales last year which produced Australian Modern Masterpieces,” Mr Morrison said.
“Far, far less money was spent on this than Grace, but we were very satisfied with the results. Not only did it feature great Australian art from a major collection, but it allowed us to showcase our own exceptional collection.”
Last month, Mr Morrison said the recent Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton attracted 12,200 visitors to Ballarat, with 10,000 over the Easter long weekend alone.
In 2011, the Art Gallery of Ballarat hosted 113,000 visitors.
“Later this year we are going to feature the greatest Australian botanical art exhibition ever put on in the country — anywhere,” Mr Morrison said.
“That is the sort of model that I am working on in tandem with the Board and the City of Ballarat. Exhibitions which feature great art — rather than celebrity photos or dresses — are going to be our increasing focus into the future.”
Ballarat Regional Tourism director George Sossi said yesterday that his organisation had asked the Art Gallery of Ballarat board to consider more populist exhibitions.
“From a tourism sector perspective, the more populist the exhibition, the more opportunity they have to draw a bigger crowd,” he said.
“The stance the gallery has taken is that it is a fine art gallery and looks to present exhibitions as such.”
Mr Sossi said Bendigo had “cemented their reputation” as hosting popular exhibitions.
“Once that has happened, it is very difficult to start clawing back that kind of audience,” he said.
Art Gallery of Ballarat board chair Gary Taylor said the upcoming botanical art exhibition had the potential to be a landmark show, and part of an impressive calendar of exhibitions over the next two years.
“Ballarat, as one of the most important regional galleries of Australia, contributes directly to art heritage and art scholarship, is a major lender of works and seeks opportunities to showcase our own collection,” he said.
“Our neighbouring gallery doesn’t have a collection to support that kind of model.”