City of Greater Geraldton turn to State Government to advocate for Geraldton Regional Art Gallery funding

Anna CoxMidwest Times
Geraldton Regional Art Gallery lights up for the opening of the 2021 Mid West Art Prize.
Camera IconGeraldton Regional Art Gallery lights up for the opening of the 2021 Mid West Art Prize. Credit: Tamati Smith

The City of Greater Geraldton is lobbying for a funding boost for Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, urging the State Government for extra investment to help bolster cultural experiences in the region.

City representatives met with Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister David Templeman, alongside representatives from the City of Bunbury, to jointly advocate for an increase in operational funding for both GRAG and Bunbury Regional Art Gallery.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Jerry Clune said it was positive to present a unified approach from both galleries.

“Art galleries play an important role in connecting art and place, while providing the regional community with access to high profile works and travelling shows,” he said.

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“Both Geraldton and Bunbury’s respective galleries are A-Class facilities and a number of years ago our galleries saw a significant reduction in funding from the State Government.”

Mr Clune said the Minister was receptive to feedback regarding an absence of increased funding, despite escalating costs including staffing, materials, maintenance requirements and running of heritage buildings.

“The Geraldton Regional Art Gallery and the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery currently receive funding through the State Government’s Arts Organisation Investment Program (AOIP), which equates to $170,000 per year each until 2027,” Mr Templeman said.

The Minister added he has requested the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries to look into the matter.

Both local governments also raised concerns surrounding their ability to maintain an A-Class standard at both galleries, which is required to attract touring exhibitions.

GRAG has proved highly valued to the Geraldton and Mid West community, with consistently high attendance and participation rates.

Exhibition attendance between 2022 and 2023 was more than 9550 visitors, with 18 exhibitions hosted, plus many other activities including workshops and public art opportunities.

Collective foot traffic to GRAG and the visitor centre was more than 40,000 in 2022-2023.

The city will now await the outcome of the State Government’s annual budget process later in the year, in the hope of a positive outcome in response to its advocacy efforts.

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