The Castlemaine community’s connection to its art gallery is something Naomi Cass is interested in as she begins the role of Castlemaine Art Museum general manager.
Falling revenue and rising costs forced the Castlemaine Art Museum board to close the gallery’s doors in 2017 before the community rallied and an anonymous $250,000 donation ensured two years of funding.
Ms Cass said it was an important and interesting time to step into the general manager role.
“I'm really interested in how a cultural organisation can be really active in a community,” she said.
“Something I can bring is to look at how (the gallery) can work with the community and board to make an organisation with a beautiful building and an important collection more sustainable.”
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Ms Cass has had a long career in arts management and development. She left her job as director at the Centre for Contemporary Photography to take up her role in Castlemaine.
“Because people need to express themselves, arts are always happening whether supported by government, council or private patrons,” she said.
“For institutions like CAM with its important history and presence, I want to bring all my skills and talents to make it more stable, productive and sustainable.”
One of the first things Ms Cass intends to do when she takes on her role at CAM is to engage with the board and community.
“Of course I bring my own skills, knowledge and connections but in the first instance I want to settle in and meet people to learn about the (local arts) community,” she said.
“Every arts organisation likes to say they are part of in the community – that can be said with utter confidence in Castlemaine.
“The goodwill of the (Castlemaine) community and the energy with which they stepped up (when the gallery needed them), that's legendary.”
Ms Cass said it was too early to discuss any potential exhibitions planned for CAM.
“The first task is to look at how the gallery is managing and work on generating income to support the gallery and realise our ambitious, artistic program,” she said.
“For the staff and volunteers that are there, I also want to hear whats important to them.”
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