The Benalla Art Gallery will celebrate forty years of its location in the now iconic building on the shore of Lake Benalla with a 70s party in the Benalla Botanical Gardens.
“This striking modernist building is now a symbol of Benalla, treasured by the community and appreciated by those in the arts right across Australia and internationally,” said Bryony Nainby, Director of the Gallery.
“The Gallery has enabled us as a community to more fully celebrate our commitment to the visual arts in Benalla Rural City over the last forty years, with decades of high quality exhibitions and public programs to be proud of,” Ms Nainby said.
The Benalla Art Gallery was designed by architects Philip Sargeant and Colin Munro. The architects received a Victorian Architecture Award Citation for the building in 1975. An exhibition celebrating the artistic talent of both men is being held as part of the 40th Anniversary events.
The Gallery was initially established in 1967 following a meeting of the Benalla Arts Group, the Apex Club of Benalla and the Benalla City Council. The Benalla Art Gallery was officially opened at its original location in Nunn Street on 15 March, 1968.
In 1971 well known local businessman and art collector, Laurie Ledger, presented the Council with a proposal for the construction of a new gallery to be sited on the edge of the proposed Lake Benalla.
Mr Ledger offered to contribute $75,000 towards the estimated cost of $330,000 of the building’s construction. He also announced that his collection of 19th and 20th century Australian landscape paintings, valued at $250,000 at the time, would be donated to the City Council for the Gallery.
The Gallery is inviting the whole community to the free 1970s party from 1-4pm, with 70s music, fashion and food, a dance floor, macramé and glitter art workshops, and prizes for the best dancers and best dressed. Trixie the Clown will also be entertaining children and doing face painting.