A FEW pivotal moments during the opening of the new Lismore Regional Art Gallery last weekend had a profound impact on gallery director Brett Adlington.
The first was when he exited the building to see the waiting throng.
"It just blew me away, seeing that crowd out there when I walked outside because I had been inside and hadn't really seen the crowd gathering, it just took my breath away,” he said.
The next was during a performance by Romaine Morten and Lou Bennet, whose work is in the current exhibition Four Women (I do belong) Double.
The performance "was phenomenal”, he said.
Mr Adlington was able to not only appreciate the performance itself but the the gift of having a space like that in which to stage such performances.
It's been a long road to get to this point. There was talk of a new exhibition space well before Mr Adlington joined the gallery eight years ago.
The significance of the new venue in terms of putting Lismore in a position to borrow works from other major galleries may have been lost on some, who were busy appreciating the art on Saturday, rather than noticing the humidity.
"When we secure loans from major institutions we have to prove to them that we've got a stable climate in the building,” Mr Adlington said.
"We couldn't do that in the old building at all but now we'll have computer records to show what the temperature and humidity is at any time and the lighting is all done via computer, to get the levels right.
"It means you can put a work on paper that requires less light next to an oil painting that can tolerate higher light levels - each individual lighting unit can be dimmed specifically to the object that it's lighting.
"All that stuff is a big step up for us and a bit of a learning curve too, to be honest.”
Building a project of this scale is only possible due to the backing and support of teams of people.
"I would like to acknowledge the support of the Federal Government through their National Stronger Regions Fund, the Margaret Olley Arts Trust, the NSW State Government, Lismore City Council and, of course, the hundreds of people and local businesses who donated money to this project,” Mr Adlington said.
"I would also like to thank Dominic and Daniel Mann and Phil Ward of Dominic Finlay Jones Architects for their simple yet effective vision for this building; the whole team of builders and managers from Bennett Constructions but in particular site manager Mick Furchtman; and Lindsay Walker of Lismore City Council for so closely keeping this project on track.
"Finally, I would like to thank the gallery's dedicated staff and volunteers, who have worked tirelessly to share our new gallery with you.”
Due to this generosity, gallery visitors will be able to explore five spaces, one of which is dedicated to the permanent collection.
There is also a six- monthly program bursting with intrigue. There are spaces for hire, free school tours and the quadrangle activation is a story in itself.
Lismore Regional Gallery is partnering with Southern Cross University to present a series of outdoor events in the quadrangle.
Follow the gallery on social media for information on upcoming events.
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