Council seeking home for art collection

Bass Coast Shire Council may explore the potential to convert the Old Wonthaggi Post Office and Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre into art galleries to house works including the Robert Smith Collection.

At last night’s Ordinary Meeting, Council resolved to consider funding a masterplan for the Old Wonthaggi Post Office and for the Wonthaggi Union Community Art Centre to the 2017/18 budget process for consideration.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, said it was important for the Robert Smith Collection, valued at over $1 million, to be housed in a suitable space so it could maintain its integrity and condition – a requirement of the perpetuity loan of the art and book collection.

“The Collection includes 606 works of art, ranging from the mid-19th century gold-field inspired commentaries of S T Gill, which were the subject of a recent book and major exhibition at the State Library of Victoria, to a significant collection of mid-20th century works by the respected social realist artist, Noel Counihan,” Cr Rothfield said.

“To house such a rare and incredible art collection right here in Bass Coast is an honour, and we want to give the Collection the respect it deserves with a suitable home for the artworks.”

Council also currently exhibits its own art collection of over 100 works, mostly sourced from local artists from the Your Art Collection Awards, within Council owned buildings around the Shire.

Appropriate sites will need to have specific hanging and exhibition requirements, climate control, security, access, amenities and lighting plans developed.

Cr Rothfield said with considerable upgrades, both facilities could become wonderful exhibition spaces.

“Both the Old Post Office and the Community Arts Centre will require a number of significant upgrades and consideration of the future management and curation of potential galleries, to ensure the Bass Coast community has the opportunity to access and enjoy the arts.”

As costings for masterplans for both facilities is yet to be determined, Council will consider allocating funding as part of the upcoming 2017/18 Budget process.

Council will consider factors including a lifecycle cost evaluation that identifies the assets design and construction costs, maintenance and operating cash flow requirements and depreciation over the course of the Long Term Financial Plan.