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Albury art museum to reimagine the concept of public art
Due to open in September, the Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) is aiming to re-imagine the concept of what a public art gallery can be, presenting an all-encompassing contemporary art experience that balances international touring exhibitions with deep connections to the art of Albury’s surrounding area and the region’s cultural identity.
When it opens, MAMA, the $10.5 million redevelopment of the Albury Regional Art Gallery, will include the former gallery building and the neighbouring Burrows House (most recently a youth cafe) will double the gallery's exhibition space and includes a cafe/restaurant and shop that will sell local artwork.
The recent naming of the gallery coincided with the appointment of Jacqui Hemsley, formerly Albury City's Group Leader of Cultural Services, as its Director.
Hemsley, who has had previous held director roles at galleries in New Zealand, Broken Hill and Gippsland, told the ABCthat she is honoured to take on the title.
She explained “the most important thing here is it is not just me, none of this would have happened if it wasn't for the gallery team who has been through this whole journey and the Albury City staff and council and community.
"You can achieve so much if you can share that vision and everybody believes in the greatness of what this will be, so yes it is scary but I am not alone in this project, it is going to be successful.”
Chair of the MAMA Advisory Committee Guinever Threlkeld explained that the naming sought to establish a recognisable acronym and create a bit of curiosity, interest and possibly controversy.
Threlkeld stated “we wanted a catchy name that people would remember rather than a whole string of words like we have had in the past and something that is a little bit edgy.
"MAMA is a modern sort of name it evokes all sorts of images and has all sorts of connotations but gives the sense that this is a modern place that people are coming to."
Threlkeld said the new name moved away from the traditional gallery reference, adding “we're calling the new facility an art museum. An art museum owns a collection, commissions new work, is involved in education and the development of the community, and is a much bigger enterprise than a gallery."
Hemsley plans for MAMA to be engaging and exciting, concluding “people want to be able to have something exciting, something that stimulates them and that they can engage with, a place to meet, a place to relax, a place to learn but do it in a way that is contemporary and innovative.
"It's not a place to be quiet, it's not a place where you have to stand in awe in front of an artwork, this is a whimsy, fun, entertaining engaging space."
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27th February 2015 - Museums Australia responds to calls for a new body for public art galleries
18th January 2015 - NSW cultural institutions fail workplace diversity targets
27th November 2013 - Study reveals the impact of Public Art Museums
10th July 2013 - Albury Regional Art Gallery closes for $10.5 redevelopment
11th June 2013 - Museums drive economic and cultural transformation
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