Community arts centres vital for regional areas

THE new curator of the Regional Gallery and Museum in Gladstone Jo Duke has an interest in the survival of community arts centres.

On Tuesday, Ms Duke had a coffee with some of the students from Irene Sparks' Circle Art Group, which delighted all of the local artists who attend the class.

"It was lovely to meet the new director of the art gallery, and she was very interested and supportive of our arts centre," Ms Sparks said.

"Ms Duke is approachable and forward looking, and was extremely helpful in her comments about a new premises and gallery space for Community Arts on Goondoon."

Ms Duke believes community arts centres are vital for regional areas.

"The level of arts activity within a community often denotes the health of that community," she said.

"If there is thriving arts, both visual and performance based, there is the usual sense of energy, joy and commitment by the community to the region.

"Arts centres assist in creating a sense of belonging, of pride, of enjoyment, of learning and discovery to the area as well as assist in developing skills and artistic abilities of people who participate."

The Rio Tinto Martin Hanson Memorial Art Awards and Exhibition showed Ms Duke what Gladstone artists have to offer.

"I was lucky enough to be involved and this allowed me to see the breadth and depth of skills that our artists have here in Gladstone," she said.

"I look forward to seeing more from the local artists."