Dear fellow members of our NERAM community,
You have heard from Rachael on the unfortunate, but necessary, temporary closure of the gallery and the steps she and her team will be taking to alleviate the repercussions. It is a particularly drastic course of action (since also imposed by the government), for as Michael Brand, the Director of the Art Gallery of NSW recently said: ‘No one wants to shut the doors to the public – that’s what makes it a public art museum’. Public art galleries not only provide a social hub, mind stimulation, argument, and discussion, they are also a place of comfort and safety. That loss is profound as it comes when it is most needed.
Rachael is providing the leadership that NERAM needs in this difficult time. She is supported by a skilled and enthusiastic team who are all committed to our success. We are fortunate to have Rachael and her team exploring different options for keeping our community connected over the coming months via social media and other means.
These changes will of course have a considerable impact on NERAM and our community. While the loss of our selling exhibitions is a hit to our income, it is a bigger hit to the individual artists. Artists and performers everywhere are suffering an almost total loss of income and will need substantial support – economically and emotionally. Our staff are placing selling exhibitions online so that patrons can continue to have the ability to purchase works. They are also giving the shop an online presence.
Our annual appeal will continue although fundraising events that were planned for the next few months have been cancelled or postponed, including a major show scheduled for early May that had many opportunities for promotion and financial support. You will remember that in addition to our usual funding needs, the significant support we have been receiving from the Margaret Olley Art Trust finishes this year as the Trust is wound up. Our profound thanks to the Trustees who have diligently carried out Ms Olley’s wishes to support the visual arts, especially in regional areas. Philip Bacon, a co-trustee of the Trust and co-Patron of NERAM, has been a wonderfully supportive friend and continues to show faith in our endeavours.
We will be holding our regular board meeting later this week, via Zoom, and these challenges will be the primary focus of our agenda. This will include consideration of how we might promote the NERAM Foundation by developing it in a more professional manner as our main fundraising vehicle, in a similar way to many arts organisations. This will encompass expanding our reach for support into the metropolitan areas – especially Sydney and Brisbane. This might not be the most propitious time to undertake a major push for support, but at the very least we will be in a position to launch when conditions improve.
Our annual general meeting planned for late May will be postponed until sometime later in the year as allowed for in our constitution. To keep you informed, we will post our 2019 accounts on the website once they have been signed off by the auditors.
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement for NERAM. These troubled times will pass, in the meantime please try and stay safe and well.