Our fabulous new gallery opened with great fanfare on Friday 17 July. ‘Fanfare for Collie’ written by our extraordinary Chairperson Elizabeth Lindsay was performed by Collie musicians Wendy Armstrong on trumpet, Rhiannon Murphy on French horn, with Collie Senior High School’s magnificent Wuhan gong played by Olivia Turley, telling the world that all the years of planning and hard work had finally come to fruition.
Around 200 art lovers and guests from as far afield as Shoalhaven NSW came together as Shire President Wayne Sanford welcomed Colin Holt MLA as well as representatives from the Art Gallery of WA, South West Development Commission, the Collie and Districts Branch of the Bendigo Bank, and the Bundanon Trust.
As he said, “It didn’t pop up overnight: it had thorough research and consideration of building options in the planning process.”
South West Development Commission chief executive Don Punch, who is originally from Collie, said he was delighted to see how much growth Collie has experienced over the past few years. “To see the amount of work that has gone in to the gallery and to the town over the years is fantastic. To see Collie grow and shape up with fantastic buildings shows that Collie really has come of age,” he said.
Local builder Greg White said the opportunity to be involved in the building of the gallery was a challenge that took their company to a new level and showed just what could be achieved by Collie and its own tradespeople.
It was a landmark day for Collie and the whole South West arts community. The new Collie Art Gallery is the first purpose built A-Class art gallery to be opened anywhere in the state since the Art Gallery of WA opened it’s doors more than 30 years ago.
Bendigo Bank branch Chairman, Ian Miffling spoke of the bank’s commitment to investing back into the community. “We really wanted to be part of this iconic project for Collie and I think great things will come from the project.”
In declaring the gallery open, Colin Holt said, “For me communities come to life when culture attributes to a town. It comes when facilities like this exist to showcase the talents of the town. A project like this brings Collie to life just a little bit more,” he said.
“I would just like to congratulate everyone who has been involved in the project and thank them for the leadership and vision to bring a little more life in to the Collie community,” he said.
Following the formalities, guests were invited inside the gallery to see the opening exhibition Act Belong Commit presents ARTHUR BOYD: AN ACTIVE WITNESS which has come to us all the way from Shoalhaven NSW. It is the first time the exhibition has been seen in WA making it another cultural coup for Collie.