1. Artist Rebecca Gallo conducting a student workshop.
1. Artist Rebecca Gallo conducting a student workshop. Rebecca Rushbrook

Education in the gallery is vital

FOR many people, the idea of a gallery can come across as a static experience, with hushed rooms and silent works in gold frames on the walls.

The reality though is that galleries have been for a long time, and increasingly are, places seeking to use their exhibitions as ways to speak to audiences about a whole range of ideas and issues.

Lismore Regional Gallery has long focussed on education as being a vital part of our aims as an institution, not only for children but also for adults. Regular artist talks, our Thursday Night Live series and the monthly Peggy Popart sessions are all designed to bring people together, often with artists, to broach a whole range of topics. Our aim is to have the gallery seen as an extra classroom for Lismore!

Much of this educational activity has grown exponentially over the past year, with much of the credit due to the gallery's Learning Officer Claudie Frock.

Claudie has overseen a number of major initiatives in this space since we opened last year, with a number of others due to roll out next year.

Some of the ones to start next year include regular after-school workshops and tours in Auslan for Deaf people.

A fantastic initiative which I have written about before, and has been operating for the past few months is an Arts and Dementia program which is being facilitated by Jennifer Collins.

Another is the production of a new Art & Literacy Kit. Earlier this year the gallery engaged Educator and Literacy Specialist Karen Rantissi to develop a series of literacy and arts based resources for schools, reflecting on works from the gallery's permanent art collection.

Rantissi will be running training sessions for educators at the gallery on Thursday 29 November at 4.30pm, with another date set for February.

This two hour training session will include innovative ways to engage students in arts and literacy, unpacking the education resource and participation in hands on activities using works from the permanent collection to inspire creative thinking and writing.

The beauty of this kit is that it looks at a whole range of ways to use visual art to inform a number of educational areas including design, fictional narratives, persuasive text, and broader social issues.

We also have - but only until the end of this term - a subsidy for schools in the Lismore LGA to cover bus travel to the gallery.

This is a great chance to bring a group of students to the gallery to tour our current shows.

We are also keen to see students from the Industrial Technology areas come and speak with one of Geoff Hannah's students, and be shown the complexities of The Hannah Cabinet.

If any reader is interested in these initiatives, please get in contact with the gallery.

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