Regional art networks boosted through bequests

1 Nov 2017
Dr Holly Arden, Sophie Price, and Madeline Payne.
Dr Holly Arden, Sophie Price, and Madeline Payne. Photo: Simon Woods

Last year, we announced the generous $8 million bequest by Paula and Tony Kinnane to establish two endowment funds at the UQ Art Museum and the UQ School of Music.

When planning the bequest, Paula had shared with us her strong desire to give back to regional Queensland, where she and Tony had lived for many years. She requested that the UQ Art Museum build capacity in regional galleries and, late last year, we travelled to the regions and began to research ways this might occur to maximum benefit.

As a result, we are excited to bring our first regional professional development opportunity to life this month, which is the result of two generous donors and the support of the Mackay Regional Council.

The catalyst for this particular project was a collector’s offer to bequest his significant collection of objects from the West Papua Kamoro tribe to Artspace Mackay. But before the gallery can make the case for acquisition, the work must be catalogued – this provided a wonderful opportunity for learning.

During November, Artspace Mackay Exhibition Officer Lauren Turton is set to join two UQ Museum Studies students at UQ Art Museum for a week of hands-on training with our Registration team, to prepare them to handle and capture object data ahead of the field project in Mackay.

UQ Art Museum Senior Education Manager Dr Holly Arden visited Artspace Mackay last year with Director Dr Campbell Gray to discuss how we could work together to build the capacity of professional museum staff across regional Queensland galleries, while also building pathways for UQ students.

“We hope this project captures the essence of Paula’s vision for her funding – it will give our UQ students the chance to build their professional networks and to conduct significant, real-world projects. And it will also allow our colleague at Artspace Mackay to gain valuable professional development. This is the first iteration of what we hope will be an ongoing opportunity for UQ students and regional colleagues.” — Dr Holly Arden

Lauren Turton
Lauren Turton 

In between putting the finishing touches to a new exhibition installation, Lauren Turton Exhibitions Officer at Artspace Mackay, found a moment to share her thoughts on the upcoming opportunity:

“I’m very much looking forward to visiting Brisbane and learning from and working with the team at UQ. We have a unique registration project centred on a collection of West Papua Kamoro art here in Mackay which, thanks to the Kinnane Bequest, we have the opportunity to really make a start on this year. We are certain this project will be a positive and stimulating experience for all involved, and speaking on behalf of myself and Artspace Mackay, we’re very excited about this professional development partnership and the opportunity the Kinnane Bequest is affording us.” — Lauren Turton

The two UQ Museum Studies students participating in the project are excited about the month ahead.

“Paula and Tony Kinnane’s generosity has provided a unique opportunity to learn valuable skills that will contribute to our future career aspirations. I feel extremely lucky to be given the chance to work with two renowned institutions – UQ Art Museum and Artspace Mackay. Having grown up in a regional area, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with this part of the world and working with such a unique collection. The generosity of the donors and professionals at both museums means so much and I’m excited to be granted this opportunity.” — Madeline Payne

“I feel extremely lucky to be working on this project thanks to Paula and Tony Kinnane. Their generosity means so much, as it’s providing us with the means to learn real-world skills and knowledge that will prepare us for future employment. I feel very grateful to be granted this opportunity and I’m excited to work with such seasoned industry professionals at both the UQ Art Museum and Artspace Mackay.” — Sophie Price

With your help, we can create many more opportunities like this one across Queensland’s regional gallery network for museum professionals of the future. Talk to us today about how your contribution can change students’ lives and the communities who benefit from the arts. Find out more