Art facility future on council agenda

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury Regional Art Galleries governance review reveals startling comments as the council looks set to continue management of the facility.
Camera IconBunbury Regional Art Galleries governance review reveals startling comments as the council looks set to continue management of the facility. Credit: South Western Times

A decision on Bunbury Regional Art Galleries’ future is expected next week when Bunbury City Council will again be recommended to continue managing the facility.

The council in May deferred any decision on the art facility in the wake of a governance review.

While it was set to receive the review, vote on continuing to own and operate the galleries and support forming a foundation to generate funding for the galleries, it instead put off a decision following heated debate.

The South Western Times previously revealed the in-depth and independent governance review showed some startling comments about the facility including concerns around bureaucracy, the way the previous art galleries board was dismissed and limited funding opportunities.

The council stopped funding the galleries’ board and took control of management in February 2014.

The facility is even described as “dead and unwelcoming” in one submission of the review.

But Mayor Gary Brennan said he was confident in the galleries’ future, especially under a new director.

“I think it’s very important for the city (council) to continue to manage BRAG,” Mr Brennan said.

“The new director has brought a great deal of energy and passion and from what I’ve observed so far, I think she’s doing a terrific job in what she wants to achieve into the future.

“I’m confident we’ve got a great future for BRAG, there’s more we can do and having a new director with a different view will help that as well.”

Galleries director Dr Joanne Baitz took over the reins of the facility in March.

The council will next week also vote on starting the process of forming an art galleries foundation, which is hoped will provide potential funding opportunities for the facility such as acquisitions, art prizes and events.

Mr Brennan ruled out any concerns about the galleries’ funding into the future.

“The city (council) will continue to invest in BRAG as it always has done and we look forward to the State (Government) continuing to invest BRAG,” Mr Brennan said.

The council will vote on the matter at its meeting on Tuesday night.

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