On July 15th 1995, Cairns Regional Gallery opened to the public; the culmination of over sixty years of vision, planning, lobbying and fundraising. Housed in a refurbished heritage building in central Cairns, the Gallery incorporates four individual exhibition spaces, a stylish gift shop and highly acclaimed restaurant/cafe.
Cairns Regional Gallery is Far North Queensland's only visual art museum and in 2005 celebrated 10 years of documenting and presenting history, heritage and contemporary culture of this vast and distinctive region of Australia through the visual arts, craft and design.
Over 450,000 people have visited the Gallery since its opening, with the audience comprising a mix of local residents, domestic tourists and overseas visitors. As well as appreciating the artworks on show at Cairns Regional Gallery, visitors are often awed at the heritage qualities of the building itself, including the rainforest timber panelling evident throughout, and Chillagoe marble flooring.
Tourists comprise almost 50% of the Gallery’s visitors and this segment plays an active role in continuing our reputation as one of Australia's most innovative regional galleries. Cairns Regional Gallery's unique Pacific-rim identity and commitment to promoting the visual art of Far North Queensland provides a unique and rich experience for visitors and residents of the region.
Cairns Regional Gallery is a unique enterprise, quite different from other regional galleries not only in Queensland, but indeed Australia and internationally. It is the region’s dynamics that stand this Gallery apart, with the cultural diversity, heavy inflow of tourists and the remoteness from capital cities all contributing factors to the unique development of the arts in the Far North. In addition, the dynamics of local arts practices and the rapid development of Cairns city as a cultural centre in the Far North, are key factors in distinguishing the Gallery from other similarly defined arts organisations.
Boasting a vigorous and diverse exhibitions calendar, the motivation behind the Gallery team is the company’s mission statement:
“Through art, we will continue to showcase the people, places and events of Far North Queensland, locally, nationally and internationally. We will stimulate the development of the visual arts in this region and we will present the art of the world.”
The core programs of Cairns Regional Gallery are the Collection, Exhibition Program and Public Programs. Through these programs, the Gallery preserves, interprets and celebrates the heritage and culture of Far North Queensland for the benefit of local residents as well as domestic and international tourists.
Since opening, the gallery has shown more than 300 exhibitions with an average of 30 per year, including 5 which have been curated and toured nationally by the gallery. Over 65% of exhibitions offered an intriguing insight into the social heritage and culture of Far North Queensland.
The Exhibitions Policy stipulates that... exhibitions are local, national and international, with local content a high percentage of the program each year. Exhibitions will offer the community ways of seeing its cultures, environments and histories. Exhibitions will encourage the expression of ideas, attitudes and ambitions...they are about the tradition of art and art in our time, cultural diversity, communication and enjoyment. Exhibitions should offer audiences stimulation and challenging engagement.
The curated exhibitions feature the artworks of the Far Northern region, which have toured nationally; including Artists Studio, Escape Artists: Modernists in the Tropics, the highly acclaimed Ilan Pasin (this is our Way) exhibition of Torres Strait Islander art and Home Island, Home Country - a special exhibition of works on paper by young people from communities across Cape York and the Torres Strait, and Encounters with Country: Landscapes of Ray Crooke.
Exhibitions by local artists are developed through the Community Exhibitions Program. The Gallery curates exhibitions using works from the Collection and by regional artists. Some of these exhibitions are toured nationally and highlight particular aspects of an artist's work in the region. The Gallery also presents touring exhibitions from regional, state and national museums.
All exhibitions are complimented with an active promotional, educational, advertorial and interpretive program targeting both the local and visitor community to the region.
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THE GALLERY COLLECTION
The Cairns Regional Gallery Collection was established in late 1998. Since that time the Collection has grown through donations and purchases to provide a tangible and rich cultural resource for current and future generations.
The Collection is now comprised of over 275 works and continues to grow.
The acquisition policy requires that works of art are relevant to the historical, environmental and cultural concerns of the people of Far North Queensland with a balance between historical and contemporary cultural material. This balance will recognize both the rich heritage of the region and the particular vitality of current art production in Far North Queensland.
» More about the Gallery Collection...
Interpretation of the exhibitions is assisted through Public Programs, a stimulating program of educational and social events that include guided tours, art demonstrations, floor talks, workshops, education kits, art classes and community days.
Public Programs are designed for all age groups and comprise regular floor talks by visiting artists and curators, weekend workshops, art classes and community days.
The interpretation of exhibitions for the public is an essential task of a responsible gallery. Through Public Programs, the Gallery provides a diverse range of learning activities.
» More about the Gallery's public programs...
Cairns Regional Gallery is a leader in the education sector in FNQ. Major collaborative projects initiated through the Gallery provide students of all ages with opportunities to work with professional artists and to learn about visual art in a museum context.
Both adults and children have access to learning through workshops, floor talks, art demonstrations, lectures and guided tours.
The Gallery has a strong positive relationship with teachers at all major educational institutions in Far North Queensland and provides significant support through education kits, excursions to the Gallery, practical workshops, and regular information updates in the form of teacher briefings and flyers.
» More about our education services...