Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Benefactors threaten to end financial support after Townsville City Council sacks gallery manager

Benefactors threaten to end financial support after Townsville City Council sacks gallery manager
October 20, 2016

Townsville City Council’s decision to sack the Curator and Manager of the city’s Perc Tucker Regional Gallery has led to benefactors of city’s art galleries threatening to end their financial support.

At the end of last month, Townsville City Councillors passed an independent report by consultants the Nous Group, recommending a leaner structure to the organisation and the merging of two levels of management.

As a result, Shane Fitzgerald was told his position as Manager of Townsville City Council’s Gallery (which includes the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery and Pinnacles Gallery) had been made redundant.

He was given two days notice to clear his desk.

Other executive jobs will be lost as a result but the final number will not be made public until after a consultation period is completed.

Fitzgerald’s position was the only specific role that the report recommended be cut with his duties set to be absorbed in another council manager’s responsibilities.

Fitzgerald had been widely credited with driving the success of the Council’s Galleries which, in 2013/14 attracted 283,161 visitors, a much higher gallery attendance than comparably-sized regional cities around Australia.

In 2014, the Council released a 50-page report Culture Matters which said that attendance for cultural events in Townsville vastly outnumbered others such as sports.

It advised “there’s a social dividend in investing in the cultural and creative sectors with the return in strengthening our underlying values of inclusiveness, openness and democratic practice.

“There’s another benefit from investing in the arts and artists to build a rich cultural life: the economic dividend.”

Among objections to the sacking, art dealer and philanthropist Philip Bacon has pledging to pull funding from the Galleries if it goes ahead.

Bacon told the Townsville Bulletin “(this is similar to) the catastrophe the Newcastle council visited on its highly successful gallery when it embarked on the same course.

“In that instance, I was just one of many philanthropic people and organisations that immediately withdrew support, a $500,000 gift in my case, and the same will happen now with this situation.

“Shane had attracted promises of huge ongoing philanthropic support, in both immediate funding and bequests. This will now be lost.

“I will not be continuing my support, and nor will the coterie of like-minded supporters who have come on board because of Shane.”

Bacon said he was shocked by the decision, adding “it is a retrograde and foolish step, and has never worked in any situation that I am aware .

“Shane has taken the Perc Tucker to another level of professional and entrepreneurial success – an institution punching well above its weight.

“Because of his vision and salesmanship he was attracting shows and visitation unseen before.

“The wider arts community of Australia will look with dismay at this neutering of the professional management at the gallery.”

Philanthropist Tim Fairfax, Chairman of the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, has wrote to Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill on 11tth October reminding her that last year the Foundation gave $48,000 to the Gallery to help stage a “flagship exhibition” ‘Strand Epehmera’ schools program based on the “Trustees confidence in the vision and leadership of Shane Fitzgerald”.

Fairfax wrote “it is difficult to reconcile how such a driving force who has raised such a great deal of community and other support for the arts in Townsville, could be made redundant without any consultation or consideration of the myriad of hard won stakeholders who are now invested with Townsville through strong relationships diligently and thoughtfully fostered by Shane Fitzgerald.”

The city of 175,000 people is currently advancing the development of a 20,000 sport stadium, replacing the 1300SMILES Stadium, which currently hosts 13 match events each year attracting 262,170 fans in 2015/16.

The Council may well be responsible for the multi-million dollar annual operational costs of the new venue after it opens in 2020.

Click here for more information on the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery.

Images: Perc Tucker Regional Gallery.

14th October 2016 - FOUR ARCHITECTS SHORTLISTED TO DESIGN THE NEW NORTH QUEENSLAND STADIUM

16th May 2016 - QUEENSLAND MUSEUM DRAWS RECORD CROWDS

13th April 2015 - COUNCIL REJECTS CALLS TO FUND CESSNOCK REGIONAL ART GALLERY

27th November 2013 - STUDY REVEALS THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC ART MUSEUMS


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

SKC Operations Pty Ltd (SKCorp)

SKC Operations Pty Ltd (SKCorp) is an expert retail and marketing services team specialising in sports, leisure, aquatics, fitness, health, wellness & recreation industry. Using proven…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Fitness / Marketing / Retail

 
 

WATERPLAY Solutions Corp

Whether your goal is increasing your centre's revenues or creating an engaging environment, why not add play to your project? If you're looking for stylish aquatic play features, kid-tested…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Waterparks

 
 

TouchCloud Global

Activating skyscapes for tourism, art, leisure and living TouchCloud Global (TCg) is a highly specialised international consultancy, broker and principal, devoted solely to activating and energising…

read more

Attractions / Consultants / Recreation / Safety / Tourism

 
 

Aussie Strength

We are Aussie Strength. The ultimate supplier for Commercial Gym Equipment that's built to deliver in the toughest environments. From USA-Built hardcore weight training equipment from Arsenal…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

Fitness On Demand

Fitness On Demand™ is a market-leading developer of virtual group fitness products. Our innovative video delivery systems offer robust content and a simple-to-use, comprehensive web app. Fitness…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

SYNERGY FITNESS

The Calgym/Synergy group has had a long and proud history since 1976 as world leaders in the innovation, design and evolution of commercial strength and conditioning equipment. The Synergy group was…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

INTELLIGENZ

Recreation Management Software for managing all your program registrations, facility bookings, membership pass sales and Point of Sale; including detailed reporting, automated customer communication…

read more

Access / Billing / Finance / Marketing / Technology

 
 

Ecoline

Ecoline is a highly experienced and skilled company that offers world-first technology in safety, protects the environment and provides a unique and challenging custom-made adventure and educational…

read more

Attractions / Environment / Safety / Tourism

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business