How Important Are They? Why do they deserve your suppport?
There may be a lot of people who wonder why we have public and regional galleries. Surely they are just for people who love art or who are in the arts professions? What is not always explained about visual art in particular, is that even if you are not an artist or even in an accepted creative profession, or learning one, the methods of creative thinking and problem solving that artists do, is also useful in science, engineering and other professions.
So, why support a gallery? Why visit one?
Things that many galleries provide:
- Education facilities for children and schools
Exposing kids to broader ways of thinking encourages them to look outside of what may be obvious for solving problems or creatively designing or building.
- Thinking outside the Box for Adults
Even adults can become ‘stuck’ in their thinking. Sometimes an idea came come from a totally different disciplin, to solve an issue or give a new slant on an old problem.
- Relief from the Stress of Modern Living
Sometimes we just need to get away from our daily problems of living. In the past this may have been provided by religion, but these days less and less are attending church for that wider view of creation and our role in it. The feeling of being in a place of peace and acceptance needs to come from somewhere, and for many it can be found in the ‘new cathedrals’ of art galleries and parks.
The art in galleries gives us a chance to think about something else. Something beautiful, something challenging, something surprising, something creative. Life requires balance, and as so many of us discover, all work and no time to rest and reflect leads to a life less enjoyed and more endured.
For some people a walk in the park or on the beach is good enough. But I would say that in addition, a visit to a creative space will only add to that experience.
On the Mornington Peninsula, we are lucky to have several galleries that are provided by the local, or state government, or that are supported by patrons and donations. You may have noticed a donation bin as you enter one of these spaces. It is the income from these sources that keep these places running. It pays for the materials for art workshops that are often ‘manned’ by local volunteers, as well as the tools and materials for volunteer guides, receptionists, gardeners and support staff.
In the past several decades patrons of the arts have become more scarce, which is sad, as their funds have helped to create some amazing spaces, like McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park in the Frankston area. These spaces are important as they provide green areas for kids to play, families to enjoy natural surrounds away from their small suburban blocks, and creative output from dedicated professional artists that they would normally not have access to. Respect for, and appreciation of these artistic spaces is a beginning, but along with these is the need for financial support.
Next time you visit a public gallery, I urge you to take the time to check out how it is supported. Have a look for a donation bin, so that you can show your apprecation for all the hidden work that goes into providing that space for you to enjoy. Also, tell your family and friends about the space, and suggest that they could also contribute their continuation as valuable parts of your community. Remember, a coffee is about $4, and a takeaway meal is less than $10, how much more valuable is a place that provides inspiration to your children and a peaceful place to regroup for you? Surely an equivelent donation could be dropped in the next time you visit?
As a point of clarification to finish with, I am a volunteer at McClelland Gallery, and as such I am not paid as a consultant or employee. I do enjoy seeing how much the kids and their parents get from the workshops I help to provide, and I know how important the donations and patronage from the public, the government, and businesses are for continution of such services, (IE; and just to keep the doors open). So, speaking from personal experience, I know that any gallery you choose to support (via memberships as well), will be thrilled to see you.