Townsville City Council De-professionalises Its Galleries

Media Release

The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) deplores the lack of cultural understanding and commitment by Townsville Council in its recent move to de-professionalise the staffing of the Townsville City Council Galleries.

NAVA is the national peak body advocating for and representing the professional interests of the Australian visual and media arts, craft and design sector.

Tamara Winikoff OAM, Executive Director of NAVA said today, “NAVA is deeply concerned at the decision by Townsville City Council to downgrade the expert professional management of its premier galleries. The absorption of the manager position into another council staffer’s role is effectively contracting the time and ignoring the specialised skills required to effectively manage an art facility.”

NAVA understands from Council it is likely that the position will be Manager for Arts and Sports Facilities.

Winikoff continued, ”It’s inexplicable why the Council would derogatorily treat a highly effective and much admired art professional, Shane Fitzgerald, who has been so successful in building the profile and garnering support for Council’s galleries.”

“Running galleries is not the same skill set, knowledge base or network of engagement as is required for managing a sports oval or swimming pool. The Council is losing the respect of people who have a genuine interest in arts and culture and the support of high profile philanthropic supporters.”

“Other local governments around the country have increased their support for arts and culture because they understand the important contribution it makes to the well-being and social cohesion of communities and the economic value delivered through cultural tourism,” Winikoff continued.

“We mourn the loss to the community, Queensland artists and their supporters and to the many visitors that Townsville might otherwise have attracted. We sincerely hope that Council will realise and remedy its mistake,” Winikoff concluded.

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For media comment and enquiries please contact:

Tamara Winikoff OAM, Executive Director, NAVA 02 9368 1900

Yu Ye Wu, Marketing & Publicity Coordinator, NAVA 02 9368 1900 /