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NERAM's Birthday Exhibition -"THIRTY!"- Celebrates 3 Decades of Art

Interview with NERAM Director, Caroline Downer


The New England Regional Art Museum will celebrate its 30th Birthday on 26 March. To celebrate this milestone, a curated showcase is on display highlighting one major acquisition for each year from 1983 to 2012, celebrating the evolution of the collection over the last 3 decades.

Director of NERAM, Caroline Downer is the curator of Thirty! talks about the exhibition.


What is the gallery’s main objective of this exhibition?  As a regional gallery we are very fortunate to have wonderful collections of art . NERAM was built specifically to house and exhibit the Howard Hinton Collection and Chandler Coventry Collections, two nationally significant and valuable collections of Australian art.  But we also hold the NERAM collection, works that have been acquired through purchase and donation since 1983.  This exhibition celebrates the development of that collection and acknowledges some of our most significant supporters.


How has the gallery changed in 30 years? Unlike many regional galleries, we are not owned and operated by our local council.  NERAM was formally opened by the Premier of NSW, the Honourable Neville Wran QC, in 26 March 1983.  This building project took a concerted and long term fundraising effort by the Armidale community with matching grants provided by the NSW Government.

NERAM became a not-for-profit organisation in 2008, whose income is derived from a funding agreement with Armidale Dumaresq Council and the State Government, with the balance made up from membership fees, art classes, corporate sponsorship and fundraising.  In 1997 our building doubled in size, with new galleries, café, audio-visual theatre and artist studio added.  Our programs and attendances are growing and NERAM continues to build on a history of exceptional public support and generosity.  Our legacy of support is evident in the collections, building, programs and public enthusiasm that surrounds NERAM.


Which pieces do you think are highlights of the collection? It’s been a difficult choice. Over 3200 works have entered the NERAM Collection since 1983.  These are my subjective highlights; a selection which covers different media; mixed media, sculpture, watercolour, drawing, etching, oils and acrylics, from large to small, from figurative to abstract.  It includes works donated by some of our most significant supporters, in particular Packsaddle, the Margaret Olley Trust, and from the artists themselves.  Artists include Sydney Ball, John Beard, Judy Cassab, Cressida Campbell, Donald Friend, Rosalie Gascoigne, Marea Gazzard, George Gittoes, James Gleeson, Angus Nivison Margaret Olley and Ben Quilty.


What are you hoping the audience will take away from seeing the collection? I would like our visitors to recognise the extraordinary works we have in our collection and enjoy this small selection of NERAM’s wonderful treasures.

NERAM will be hosting a morning tea with champagne and cake on 26 March 2013. Members of the public are welcome to attend to mark the occasion.



NERAM Birthday Celebration – Mar 26, 2013

(open to the public)

Exhibition running until Apr 28, 2013

Guided Storeroom Tours

Bookings are essential as there are limited places Tel) 6772 5255

Museum of Printing (behind the gallery) is holding guided tours.

No bookings necessary

NERAMharvest Cafe is open from 12-2pm for lunch

Bookings: 6771 2907.

For more information



Homepage image: ‘Regimental colours (A)’ by Rosalie Gascoigne (1990/1)

Image: Exterior of NERAM at night (supplied by NERAM)