The

 GANG GANG GALLERY

Story

{What I have discovered is that running Gang Gang Gallery is a very time-consuming and demanding business, but one that brings me immeasurable joy. It has also been a great pleasure to join up with the Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network as their Vice President, and to help build strong links between the Blue Mountains and the Seven Valleys arts communities.

I am a Lithgow girl. I grew up in the Seven Valleys, which includes Lithgow, but we had a lot to do with the Sydney culture scene through my father’s family. I also married a local. My husband Ross was born near Oberon but grew up in Hartley. This place is in our bones and blood. But we have also had the good fortune to travel extensively both internationally and across Australia. We are strong believers in the local/global mantra. Be grounded in your place, but open to connections across the world.

Ross and I ran a few businesses together and along the way I graduated with qualifications in Management Studies. In 2017 I decided to marry this business experience and acumen with my lifelong love of the arts, when with Ross’s support, I purchased the building on Main Street that has become Gang Gang Gallery. My vision for Gang Gang was that it would provide a contemporary arts space to enhance Lithgow, a gallery that would also link into the community and provide spaces for workshops and community events.

I’ve long been fascinated by the way artists and other creatives think about things, the way they capture a different sensibility in their artworks, music and performances. Running an art gallery has enabled me to get more closely involved in this community of creative thinkers. That has been the main reward for taking on such an ambitious project. Many of my friends, both locals and in Sydney were sceptical that I could make it work in a place like Lithgow. But their doubts only made me want to prove them wrong.

I had a strong sense that Lithgow, the main commercial heart of what we now call the Seven Valleys community, was going to go places in the future. Let’s face it, Lithgow is surrounded by some of Australia’s most beautiful country—the spectacular Garden of Stones, Wolgan Valley and Kanimbla Valley where Ross and I now live, just to name a few. And already we are seeing this future vision materialise with the development of the innovative Portland precinct and the growing arts scene a Kandos. And of course, further west we have the lifestyle towns of Orange and Mudgee. Ross and I have put a lot of effort into transforming the building we bought into a beautiful space that would honour the art works that we exhibit, and that would provide spaces for workshops and events. We wanted this space to activate people to engage with the arts, drawing on our networks both in the Seven Valleys but also in Sydney and elsewhere.

What I have discovered is that the more people you connect with, the more doors it opens. And I think one of my talents is networking and being a good communicator. I really enjoy people and that helps. I’ve learnt what it takes to run a gallery over the last five years since we started, including weathering the impact of the huge bushfires in 2019-2020 and then COVID, which basically shut everything down that required people to come together for events. I think when I started I tried to please too many people, but gradually I have learned what works and what doesn’t and how to marry big ideas and creativity with the practical business of running a gallery. Following COVID, like many businesses we had to reinvent ourselves and put a lot more effort and investment into promotion, using high quality photographs and video material to profile Gang Gang Gallery as a place with its own compelling story. We had to inspire people with our vision: what we stood for, and this gave us more and more traction with the artists and the art-loving community. I’ve learned that what works best is when art is connected to stories about bigger issues, and where we combine art exhibitions with music performance and talks about issues. Three of our most successful shows have been the Timescapes Exhibition, held to reflect on the impact of the 2019-2020 fires; the Pagoda Exhibition that explored the challenge of safeguarding the Garden of Stones as a protected landscape; and the recent Festival of Natives exhibition that was held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the Lithgow Natives Nursery. We all realise we are heading into difficult times and economic uncertainty. Government is being challenged with huge costs as they look into a perfect storm of fires and floods impacting basic infrastructure, rising homelessness, the impact of COVID on the health and education sectors, and the huge cost of transitioning the energy infrastructure to renewables. At the same time the pressure is on to increase spending on defence and foreign aid to deal with geo-political tensions. Meanwhile most of us are reeling from cost of living pressures on food, energy and transport. None of this bodes well for the arts as money will be scarce—from both government and individual art lovers. Many local artists and artists are artists because they absolutely love to make art—whether that is painting, weaving basket, making ceramics or Jewellery or making sculpture. They do this despite that fact that it is not an easy way to make money to even pay for their materials, let alone provide a decent livelihood for themselves and their families. To survive in this world, unless they have a wealthy private sponsor or trust fund, they need to understand the environment in which they operate and have realistic expectations. What we need from the artist is to understand our need for well-presented work (framing etc) that is ready to be hung, and to assist us with all the information and imagery we need to promote their work. We do this through our website, social media, brochures, articles in regional newspapers, interviews on radio stations and promotions in regional tourism magazines. In running an art gallery like Gang Gang, I am committed to providing an inspiring and beautiful physical environment in which to display artworks, and to undertake the full range of publicity and promotion that will bring the public to the gallery to engage with the works, and maximise the opportunity for sales. Each exhibition has to be bumped in and bumped out, frequently involving repainting the walls. Each opening event involves hospitality costs and promotion. It is a lot of work, and I look forward to continuing to help grow the arts scene of the Seven Valleys and Blue Mountains.

Featured Work

CHRISTMAS ART FAIR 2022

NOVEMBER 19 – DECEMBER 29, 2022 

We have something for everyone in the years Christmas Art Fair with an eclectic selection of beautiful works by over40 artist. From emerging to established and a myriad of mediums pop in for a look at this beautiful collection.

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Studio Address

206 Main St, Lithgow

phone

M: 0408 514 440

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