Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published January 15th 2015
Why not enrol in one of the many art classes at Artspace
Artspace in the old Gatakers Building in Kent Street Maryborough is the creation of the Fraser Coast Regional Council. Originally a warehouse for wine and spirit merchants John Graham and Charles Gataker, the building was built in 1868 and is one of the oldest surviving commercial buildings in Maryborough. It consists of two storeys and it was been restored to preserve the historic value of the building and also provide an artistic exhibition space for local and visiting artists. A small gift shop is included on the ground floor with quality handmade items from local and south-east Queensland artists.
Gatakers Artspace Maryborough, more than just a gallery
Artists wishing to exhibit in the gallery are welcome to submit an online application form, which is required to be accompanied by CD of images of their work. Bookings are usually made 12 to 24 months in advance and the day I visited the schedule board for the next 12 months didn't have many spare spaces, which gives a very good indication of how well this project has succeeded in the vision of its creators.
On the ground floor in the front portion of the gallery regular workshops are provided by professional artsworkers, which cater for beginners and experienced artists. One of these is Printspace who provide regular workshops throughout the year. Other workshops have included wood engraving, screenprinting, basic papermaking and small books, aluminium plate etching, card making and soon this area is to include a permanent pottery workshop. Bookings to all workshops are essential and costs include materials and tuition.
In December 2014, exhibitors from the Hervey Bay Art Society Inc. displayed their vast talent in paintings that lined the walls of the gallery and it was great to see local names that were familiar. Another exhibitor was a Mother and Daughter duo, Linda Jones & Laura Perrett whose exhibition of photographic art expressed captured works that could be considered both complex and simple yet related to each other in theme or content. Linda living in Maryborough and Laura residing in the UK were able to inspire each other to bring everyday items photographed, such as a bicycle, to life in much deeper meaning to all who viewed the exhibition.
From the 5th January to 1st February, artist Jo Williams will be holding an exhibition titled "Safe House". Safe House is a set of quilt panels, which depict the panels that were on the ceiling of the first Black African Baptist Church in Savannah Georgia during the Abolitionist period in American history. The panels are symbolic of the nine-square quilts that were hung on clothes lines to indicate that a home was a "safe house" for escaping slaves. This will be a very interesting exhibition. All upcoming exhibitions can be located on the website.
The Gatakers Artspace building, a heritage surviving masterpiece
Artspace's second floor is home to RATS (Regional Artists and Tutors) with the studio being open to the public from 11am to 4pm on certain days throughout the year. At these times, the public can take a tour showcasing local artists, namely Brett A Jones, Valerie McIntosh, Gina Davey, David Probyn, Inge Bayer, Monika Bayer and Kelli McGregor each demonstrating their unique artistic talents.
On the last Saturday of each month the venue comes alive at night with "Gatakers by Night". I was very fortunate to be in Maryborough one Saturday to experience the electric atmosphere as families and friends enjoyed live entertainment in the courtyard of Artspace. Entertainment can be a band or solo artist and these are sourced all over Australia. Entry to the outside event is free.
There are some tables and chairs available; however it is advisable to bring your own folding chair and/or picnic blanket to enjoy and sometimes sing along to the live performances. Casual meal options and delicious desserts are available on these nights along with a full bar service. No BYO allowed. The night starts at 5pm and finishes at 9pm which is not a late night if you have a young family. On these nights the gallery is open and RATS artists open their studio to the public.
As an ex-Maryborough resident and one who loves to return home, I was filled with admiration and marvel at not only what had been created from this old warehouse but also with the amount of public patronage that a regular event such as "Gatakers by Night" has accomplished for Maryborough and Hervey Bay residents and visitors alike. If you are visiting the heritage city and it is the last Saturday of the month, this event will be a joy for all the family.