Regional gallery celebrates exciting milestone

Published: 10 May 2023

Artspace Mackay is celebrating two decades of amazing exhibitions, artist talks and art activities.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the gallery had achieved a tremendous amount over the last twenty years.

“I hear it time and time again from artists who come to exhibit here – we have one of the best regional galleries in all of Australia,” he said.

“To have Artspace Mackay celebrating 20 years is a great feather in the cap for all those visionaries who started the process all those decades ago.”

One of those visionaries was Julie Boyd who, as Mayor from 1997 to 2008, was one of the driving forces behind the campaign to build and fund the gallery.

“We did a lot of surveying, across all demographics, before we built the gallery, and we asked people what they did when they went visiting new areas and almost every person said they visited museums and galleries,” Ms Boyd said.

“So, when you put the argument together, this space is about bringing people into our community as well as showcasing art to our local community,” she said.

“You can’t get some of the amazing travelling exhibitions that we get now without a proper gallery space.

“For example, we had one of the very first Andy Warhol exhibitions exhibited in the country here in Artspace Mackay, so that was a real coup for Mackay.”

Artspace Mackay director Tracey Heathwood said Warhol had been just one of so many standout exhibitions.

She listed hyper real sculptor Ron Mueck and the amazing cardboard city constructed inside the gallery by Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan as two other examples.

Ms Heathwood said Artspace Mackay wouldn’t be what it was without its loyal team of staff and volunteers.

“I am so blessed to work with an incredible team – they are all so passionate about what they do and we literally couldn’t open the doors without them,” she said.

“I’d like to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to all of them.”

Artspace Mackay by the numbers

Since opening, Artspace Mackay has:

  • welcomed approximately 600,000 visitors to the gallery (local, intrastate, interstate and international)
  • showcased 343 exhibitions
  • increased staff from four to 10
  • attracted support to the value of $1.5 million (in wages) from local community volunteers
  • collected 1200 works of art (the Artspace Mackay collection features one of the largest holdings of artists’ books in Australia outside of the capital cities).