Art to reignite Wonthaggi history

A COLLECTION of more than 600 artworks valued at over $1 million will be transported to and exhibited in Wonthaggi.

Collected by Geelong artist Robert Smith, the collection includes works by Noel Counihan, who visited Wonthaggi in the 1930s and captured the town in his social realism works.

Bass Coast Shire Council unanimously voted to fund the $38,321 required for transportation and setup costs at its meeting last week.

“This is a great opportunity and a generous gift from Robert Smith. In accepting this collection, we are setting up our heritage and our ability to develop tourism through the arts,” Cr Clare Le Serve said.

“We are very privileged to have this opportunity and I would hope it helps to re-establish a hub of arts and culture in the town.”

Cr Neil Rankine said he hadn’t understood the significance of the artwork until he visited Geelong, and now believes it will be a significant asset in Bass Coast.

“It depicts the conditions people lives in and there’s a big connection to Wonthaggi,” he said.

“It will be a drawcard for tourism, there’s no doubt about that. It’s a well thought out collection – he spent his life collecting the pieces – and it could only help us generate the funds for the arts centre. It’s one more arrow in our quiver and it ticks all the boxes.”

Cr Phil Wright thanked local artists John and Wendy Crellin for presenting this opportunity to the Bass Coast community.

The Crellins befriended Robert Smith many years ago, and bringing the collection to the town has been a decade in the making.

Ms Crellin said she was thrilled with council’s decision to bring the artworks to Wonthaggi and was excited about the amount of interest the community is already showing towards the upcoming exhibition.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=19712

Posted by on Sep 27 2016. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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