THE Bendigo Art Gallery is considering a name change to the Bendigo Museum of Art.
At a special meeting for members last night, director Karen Quinlan spoke of the need to rebrand the gallery to better reflect its
position as a leader in the national and international arts worlds.
The museum would form an umbrella over all operations, including the Bendigo Art Gallery and Post Office Gallery collections, along with several future projects.
Ms Quinlan said the move would also better reflect the gallery’s connections with the community, including a new association with La Trobe University and its plans to establish Australia’s premier regional art school.
“This will allow the museum to develop as an institution and present a dynamic temporary exhibitions program concentrating on five key areas: fine art, history, fashion, contemporary and collectors,’’ she said. Ms Quinlan told members the gallery had pushed beyond the boundaries of a regional gallery and carved a unique position for itself that sat between regional and state galleries and museums.
The gallery’s attendance has increased from 14,400 in 1994-95 to 159,000 in 2008-09 and more than 300,000 in 2011-12.
“The board is considering the concept of a Bendigo Museum of Art in light of our recent successes and profile and with the current expansion of the building,’’ Ms Quinlan said.
“The Bendigo Art Gallery has outgrown its colonial past and renaming the gallery will create a strong point of difference and reiterate its importance within Victoria and Australia’s public galleries network.’’
Ms Quinlan said while the Bendigo Art Gallery name was important in the city’s history, it was outdated and created confusion among the museum’s international peers.
“The Bendigo Art Gallery would exist within the Bendigo Museum of Art,’’ she said.
“We want to be upfront and honest and say we are what we are.
“We don’t want to change the name for the sake of it and we are not taking away the history.
“But we have evolved and want the name to accurately reflect our true direction.
“We will have a new space which is larger than regional art galleries – and a bigger vision. We want our members to understand the vision, where we’ve come from and where we are going.’’