Mudgee Arts Precinct

Mudgee Arts Precinct Mudgee Arts Precinct exterior. Credit: Amber Hooper

Mudgee’s brand new regional art gallery, Mudgee Arts Precinct had a rocky start, with doors opening for only eight days before the statewide lockdown saw the doors closing until recently.

The much-anticipated Official Opening has been announced as 12 November. We caught up with Lizzy Galloway, the Gallery Curator ahead of the big day.

Tell us about Mudgee Arts Precinct and how it came about?

Members of the community have been lobbying for a regional gallery in Mudgee for many years. It wasn’t until funding from both state and federal levels plus an input from Mid-Western Regional Council resulted in the development of the new $8.4 million facility at the site of the old Cudgegong Chambers. The exhibition opening was postponed because of lockdown but we’re looking forward to welcoming the Minister for the Arts, Hon. Don Harwin as well as renowned artist Ben Quilty to Mudgee in a couple of weeks to open the building and the inaugural exhibition by artist Guido (Guy) Maestri.

Can you explain in more detail how the artist produced the first exhibition?

Guido, as a Mudgee-born artist, was really excited to return to the region where he’d grown up to produce these works. He was amazed to see how Mudgee had transformed into such a flourishing, bustling town and loved the gallery’s open space and high ceilings. He was also going through a fairly profound shift in his painting style which was moving away from his outside painting, or ‘en plein air’ technique whereby his art was started and mostly finished outside. He was creating really whimsical, colourful and beautiful oil paintings that were not just representative of the region, but was also filled with the joyful nostalgia of memories of growing up here in Mudgee.

And can you let us know about what we can expect from the exhibition program?

We’re really trying to put a focus on the very best in contemporary art that has a focus on the region. Other than the exhibition by Guido, who won the Archibald Prize in 2009 we’ll be showcasing some of the best local artistic talent. We have photography by renowned artist and Clandulla local, Linda Jackson coming up next year as well as an exhibition curated by Wiradjuri artist, Aleshia Lonsdale comprising Aboriginal and local artists responding to ‘The Drip’. It will be a diverse program that really highlights our local talent.

How did the lockdowns effect the opening of the space?

We had to learn to be incredibly flexible! Guido wasn’t able to come to the region to put the exhibition together so all the placement was done via Zoom and FaceTime – we also have a sculpture garden so I had to rush to Dubbo in a ute to collect synthetic grass for the installation. Not a particularly glamorous job at times! But it turned out to be a stunning first exhibition which is a really joyful celebration of the artist’s memories of growing up in Mudgee.

Tell us more about your own experiences of Mudgee – did you grow up here?

We moved temporarily to Mudgee from Sydney in 2012 when my husband was building the Dubbo Hospital. We loved the area so much we ended up staying here permanently. I worked in arts management in Sydney for most of this time commuting back and forth every couple of weeks until starting here as Gallery Curator last year.

And where are some places locally you can recommend to our readers?

There’s so many wonderful restaurants and wineries in our region! Our favourite place to eat would have to be 29 Nine 99 dumplings in Rylstone. If we don’t get our regular fix here, we feel very out of sorts. It has the most delicious steamed dumplings anywhere out of China! For fine dining we love Pipeclay Pumphouse which has local produce and delicious wines by Robert Stein. We also love Elton’s Bar for drinks and snacks and Sundays at Burnbrae for pizzas and live music. There is also an amazing new French-style bakers called Althea which has wonderful coffee and pastries. Let’s just say we’re very thankful to be able to visit these places again!

And what are some activities you do when you’re not eating?

[Lizzy laughs]. “My girlfriends and I started climbing Mount Misery on Saturdays during lockdown. It turned out to be a really fun and a much healthier way to catch up than going out to the pub! There is also The Common where you can take your mountain bikes and have some fun riding around the bush. I’ve also been heavily involved in fundraising and have had events for Pink Up Mudgee each year. We were going to have pink polo for the first time but had had to postpone until 2022. We absolutely love Mudgee and the community here and how it rallies around to help each other.”

I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to speak with Lizzy Galloway today and we wish her and the team the very best for a great opening exhibition.

Check out Mudgee Arts Precinct here:

Insta: @Mudgeeartsprecinct

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MudgeeArtsPrecinct/

Website: Click here.

  • Guido Maestri Thistle Hill 2021 oli on French polyester 244 x 200 cm

  • Mudgee Arts Precinct interior

  • Guido Maestri painting en plein air by the Cudgegong River, photograph by the artist

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Amorette Zielinski

Amorette is a Mum of two boys who often keep her flying by the seat of her pants and a wife to a man who is so much fun to share life with; never dull! Friends often call her a ‘connector’ because she loves putting like minded people together curating experiences for them.

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