Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre will consider exhibition proposals submitted by artists, designers, curators and organisations. When preparing an exhibition proposal it is recommended that you read all information contained below detailing the background of the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre and the exhibition proposal guidelines.
The purpose of the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre is to provide excellence in the collection and exhibition of art along with providing innovative art education for the public across the Shires of Muswellbrook, Singleton and the Upper Hunter.
To achieve this Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre will:
- Foster a community culture to develop appreciation for the arts and crafts 1
- Facilitate visual and performing arts and other cultural activity 2
- Provide a venue for the proper storage and presentation of the Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection and the Max Watters Collection 3
- Provide management of the Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection and the Max Watters Collection 4
- Encourage and stimulate local artists and the general public with a varied, balanced and interesting presentation of the visual arts and crafts 3
- Provide an educational role in the community 3
- Concentrate on presenting works of the highest possible quality 3
- Encourage the enjoyment and appreciation of the arts by the general public 3
- Encourage participation in MRAC’s activities by the broadest possible cross section of the community 3
- Proactively seek the participation of minority groups such as Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders, youth & people with a disability 3
- Encourage the development of the arts in the Upper Hunter Region and across Australia 3
- Muswellbrook Shire Council Management Plan 2009-2012 page 13
- Muswellbrook Shire Council Management Plan 2009-2012 page 14
- Muswellbrook Shire Council Aims & Objectives of Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre Policy A30/1
- Muswellbrook Shire Council Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection including Acquisition Policy A30/2
A home for the Art Collection since 1976
The Muswellbrook Regional Gallery was established in 1976 to provide a venue for exhibitions of art and crafts and a museum quality home for the Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection which then consisted of 77 works (it has now grown to over 1,200 pieces). This important collection of 20th Century Australian Art had grown via acquisitions from the Muswellbrook Art Award and various donations and purchases since the beginning of the Award in 1958. The establishment of first the Award and then the Regional Gallery reflected a long standing interest in the arts in the Upper Hunter Region.
Award winning renovations in 2000
The current Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre was established in 2000 after extensive award winning renovations to what was then the Muswellbrook Regional Gallery and Town Hall complex. This investment in the arts was necessitated by the desire of the population to be able to facilitate major regional touring exhibitions and the growing size and value of the Muswellbrook Shire Art Collection particularly in light of the imminent donation to the Shire of the Max Watters Collection which would effectively double the Regional Gallery’s holdings.
An envious track record of support
The Awards, the Collections and the Arts Centre itself have an envious track record of attracting donors, judges, sponsors and artists, which have enabled the Collections to flourish.
Donors have included these well known individuals:
- Esther Bellis
- Viola Bromley
- William Bowmore
- Cherry Hood
- Desiderius Orban
- Roger Skinner
- Max Watters
Along with scores of local businesses over the years, sponsors have included:
- ANZ Bank
- Bengalla Mining Company Pty Limited
- Costain Coal
- Coal & Allied
- Esso Australia
- Muswellbrook & District Camera Club
- Muswellbrook Ceramic Group Inc.
- Scone ADFAS Inc.
The esteem in which the Awards, Collections and the Arts Centre are held within the art world has also attracted the highest calibre of adjudicator for the Awards including:
- Edmond Capon
- Helen Ennis
- Robert Hughes
- David Moore
- Bernice Murphy
- Lloyd Rees
The most important artists of their day have entered the Awards and the are included in the Collection including:
- Charles Blackman
- Jane Lander
- Margot Lewers
- Mike Parr
- Fred Williams
- Brett Whiteley
While most works have entered the Collections by either acquisitive prize or donations a small number of significant works have been purchased by Council or by the various committees assisting the Arts Centre over the years, such as the Muswellbrook Regional Gallery Society.
These have included works by:
- Andrew Antoniou
- Winsome Brown
- Royston Harpur
- Colin Lanceley
- Janet Laurence
- Eric Smith
Expansion in collections, renovations and exhibitions means a requirement for more staff
The growth of both the Collections and the exhibition program and the renovated and enlarged premises required increases in staffing during the early noughties. The positions of Arts Centre Curator and Arts Centre Manager were created replacing the previous position of Director in 2000 and the Arts Centre Assistant was added in 2005. The Arts Centre Curator position was made redundant in 2010 and two new positions created: an Arts Centre Education Officer and a second Arts Centre Assistant.
Major Milestones for Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre include:
- The appointment of the first Director in 1976
- The publication of the first illustrated catalogue of the Collection in 1976
- The establishment of the Muswellbrook Open Ceramic Award in 1987
- The establishment of the Muswellbrook Open Photographic Award in 1987
- The weaving of ‘Muswellbrook’ the Bicentennial Tapestry, designed by Max Watters, in the Supper Room at the Regional Gallery in 1988
- The winning of the Restoration/Renovation of an Historic Building up to $5million category by Austin Arenco Pty Ltd in the MBA Excellence in Construction Awards for 2000
- The painting of the Reconciliation Mural in the Community Room at the Arts Centre in 2001-2003
- The handover by Max Watters of the Max Watters Collection and accompanying publication of ‘Selections from the Max Watters Collection’ in 2004
- The Arts Centre took part in the pilot of the Museums & Galleries NSW audience development study: ‘Guess Who’s Going to the Gallery?’ in 2007
- The publication of the full colour illustrated exhibition catalogues ‘James Clifford 1936-1987’ and ‘Fifty Plus: a half century of collecting at Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre’ in 2008
- The establishment of the café within the Arts Centre premises in 2009
- The publication of full colour illustrated catalogues to accompany the exhibitions ‘Hanna Kay: Weightlessness, Paintings 2004-2010’ and ‘Charles Blandford: Upper Hunter Abstractionist’ in 2010
The Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre aims to be an exciting centre for contemporary regional arts projects which promotes ties between the artists and people of the region. Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre also presents touring shows from other regional centres as well as from the capital cities and from time to time of international origin.
To maintain a balanced exhibition program the Arts Centre includes a number of exhibitions each year that allow for local (Upper Hunter Region) artists to present their work to the public. These include competitions (such as the annual Muswellbrook Local Art Awards), invited group shows (such as the Miniatures series) and exhibitions by selected individual artists.
Proposals for exhibitions and other projects are invited from artists, designers, curators and organisations. Proposals should be coherent with the Gallery’s Vision Statement and the Exhibition Program Mission Statement and should contribute to the public identification of the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre with art work of the highest quality.
Priority will be given to proposals which:
- Explore key issues at the juncture of art, craft, design, urban design and technologies
- Represent new work of a regional nature not previously exhibited in Australia
- Are innovative, experimental and reflect the issues of current critical interest
- Promote cultural exchange within the local and wider community
- Have been curated to a professional standard
- Provide opportunities for collaborations with festival events, other cultural organisation, funding agencies and sponsors
- Support artists and designers who are marginalised by ethnicity, sexuality, gender or disability
Proposals are assessed at regular meetings of the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre staff and should be addressed to the Arts Centre Manager. Proposals should be typed or neatly printed and should include but are not restricted to the following:
- Contact details including name, phone, postal, email and website addresses of the artist(s) involved
- Curriculum Vitae outlining previous exhibitions and education
- A clear and concise written description of the exhibition or project
- A clear and concise written discussion of the exhibition or project, outlining its concept and rationale
- Logistics including number of works, dimensions and preferred dates for the exhibition or project
- Visual images of works relating directly to the proposal in the form of prints, maquettes, CD, USB Flash Drive or video (DVD) documentation. All images must be labelled or captioned with name of artist/designer, title of work, date of work, medium & dimensions
- Visual images of previous works/exhibitions by the artist(s) involved
- Public programmes that may form part of your exhibition or project, which may include floor talks, workshop or studio tours, artist demonstration, or education kit
Proposals should not include original works of art - only reproductions. If original works need to be sited you will be notified.
All proposals received will be considered, however there is no guarantee that a proposal will result in an invitation by the Arts Centre to exhibit or proceed with the proposed project. If you require your proposal documents etc. to be returned please contact the Arts Centre staff.
Completed proposals should be forwarded to:
Arts Centre Manager
Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre
PO Box 122, Muswellbrook NSW 2333