Rivafest money flows to gallery

OPENING times and staff hours at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery were dangerously close to being cut back, but Ballina Shire Council has agreed to fund a full-time co-ordinator position.

In a report presented to councillors last week, staff said the council ‘may well have to reduce the level of service provided’.

The recommendation was to recruit a co-ordinator for three days.

But, following a motion from Cr Sue Meehan, councillors decided to use the money set aside for the now-defunct Rivafest to fund a full-time co-ordinator for the art gallery.

Cr Meehan has long fought for the gallery to be recognised as a valuable community asset.

She is thrilled with the council’s decision.

“The council has made such a big investment into this beautiful building and we need to support it,” she said.

“It would be great to have small concerts here, film nights and things like that.

“There is so much potential.

“But having someone only three days a week is just not enough. The co-ordinator does so much work. They hang the artworks, they liaise with the artists, they manage the volunteers and run the exhibitions.”

At the moment the gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am until 4pm, but once a full-time co-ordinator is hired the opening hours will be extended.

Cr Meehan said it would help support the ‘cultural development of our shire’.

“This is about building a nice community, making it a good place to live,” she said.

“I would love for the gallery to be accessible to all.

“Art galleries can be seen as elitist but that’s not our charter.

“We don’t want people to think it’s boring or uninteresting.”

The Northern Rivers Community Gallery is located in the old council chambers in Cherry Street, Ballina.



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