Leading Walcha artists hosted a special visit by a large group of volunteers from the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) on Monday.
The visit was organised by the art museum as the annual excursion for the volunteers who support NERAM’s operations, providing them with an opportunity to meet local artists and see how they work in their studios.
“The New England region is fortunate to have on our doorstep one of the most significant clusters of visual artists in regional New South Wales residing in the community of Walcha,” said Robert Heather, Art Museum Director.
“NERAM invited our volunteers to visit the studios of some of our region's most popular and successful artists in this dynamic artistic hub and we had a great turnout with 45 participants attending.”
Mr Heather said the gallery aimed to reward its volunteers each year.
“We want to provide our wonderful volunteers with an opportunity to explore the arts in our region outside the walls of the art museum,” he said.
“Last year we organised a visit to Tamworth for a behind the scenes visit to the Tamworth Regional Gallery as well as a trip to Weswal Gallery with support from The Armidale School.
“This year with the support of a donation from The Greater Bank we could organise a much bigger bus to carry everyone from Armidale down to Walcha where we could visit the artists in their studios, take a walking tour through the Walcha Outdoor Sculpture Gallery and have a great day in a beautiful location.”
NERAM was very lucky to have a close relationship with Walcha based artists who were all happy to have a busload of people come to visit them for a look around their studio and discussion of their works Mr Heather said.
“Everyone had a great day and we were delighted at how artists opened up their homes and studios,” he said.
“It was a great opportunity to discover the work of artists and meet them and their families in their own inspirational environments.”
Carley McLaren from Walcha Gallery of Art and artist Julia Griffin King helped organise the trip.
“We thank everyone who hosted our visit and made us feel so welcome, we feel that this excursion has developed a much stronger bond between our two creative communities that will provide long lasting benefits well into the future.”
The excursion included visiting: the studios of painter Ross Laurie and ceramic artist Myf Gulliver; the Walcha Gallery of Art where the volunteers met artists Kate Durack and Paula Jenkins then took a guided walking tour of the Walcha Outdoor Sculpture Gallery with sculptor James Rogers; a studio visit and lunch at the studios of sculptor Stephen King, printmaker Julia Griffin King and Gemma King; and visits to the studios of sculptor James Rogers and painter Angus Nivison.
The group of NERAM volunteers included members of the Volunteer Program, NERAM Board members, Friends of NERAM committee members, Packsaddle committee members, NERAM Foundation committee members and NERAM Arts Advisory Committee members who all support NERAM by donating their time and effort throughout the year.