For Anne Lord, who opened Gallery 48 on the Strand in 2007, her own space marked an opportunity to steer Townsville’s arts scene in the direction she wanted to see it go.
“I go to galleries anywhere in the world, but mostly capital cities and I see really good displays; alternative displays of alternative works and really pristine watercolours in very particular settings and I thought ‘I could do all of that, the way I know it could happen, if I was in charge of the gallery’,” said Anne.
At first, the Gallery featured reproductions of works by Anne’s two grandmothers – one a photographer, and one a painter – as well as Anne’s own paintings and pieces from her Collection, which had outgrown her own home and studio. But Anne could also see the potential to nurture a greater appreciation for work among the Gallery’s visitors.
“Most of the work is a big mixture – always themed – and I’ve done some curating, so I understand the way of putting things together that can create sort of a story,” Anne said. “If people come and I tell them that story, it’s probably more effective than leaving a piece of paper on the bench that says this is what this is about.
“I’ve been an educator for years and years. I don’t really want to do the education thing, but it is about sharing something that you believe in and hoping that people would pick up on that.”
Anne’s underlying motivation is simple: to show artwork in Townsville that she believes is good artwork.
“Years ago, I went into one of those big chain stores to buy something and this person was walking out with a framed digital piece that was about $15. At the time, I was on a waiting list to put one of my shows up, and I remember looking at this work thinking ‘Is this what happens now?’
“I’m very worried about that. That the rich curatorship that happens in Germany, France, Italy and Spain; I don’t think happens in many other places. Big cities have these commercial galleries and they have curatorship, but I’m really concerned about whether you can get something that you think is a beautiful thing to look at, across to the public. It’s not easy.
“It’s about all sorts of people, all sorts of tastes. I have defended work before and said ‘I think it’s very creative, I’m happy to have it up there’.”
Gallery 48 is located at 2/48 The Strand and is open 12pm-5pm Wednesdays and Saturdays, or by appointment.