Celebrating IMAGinE award winners!


Recognising innovation and excellence in 500 museums, galleries and Aboriginal cultural centres across NSW, the IMAGinE industry awards acknowledges the outstanding achievement of over 8,000 individuals in fostering local communities, enhancing NSW’s vibrant cultural tourism and improving visitor experiences.

Michael Rolfe, CEO, M&G NSW commended all recipients across the categories of Projects, Sustainability, Engagement and Individual Achievement in both paid and volunteer organisations and said,

This year’s nominations showcase the role of museums, public galleries and Aboriginal cultural centres as cultural hubs in building and bolstering communities. There was also a heartening range of projects which illustrated a deep understanding of the importance of state-wide conserving collections and the careful utilisation of all resources.”

This year two special awards were given; Eden-based Aboriginal leader Pastor Uncle Ossie Cruse AM MBE received recognition for Lifetime Contribution to Aboriginal Culture in NSW, and Firstdraft was noted for Outstanding Contribution to NSW Artist Run Initiatives.

Since the 1960s, Uncle Ossie has been actively involved with Aboriginal affairs at a local, state, national and international level through the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. Through his vision and drive, the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council established and built the Monaroo Bobberrer Gudu Cultural Heritage Keeping Place in 1994, which features an outdoor amphitheatre and a cultural walk.

Australia’s longest operating artist-run gallery, Firstdraft was established in 1986 to facilitate the work of emerging and experimental artists. Over the years, the gallery has occupied premises in Chippendale, Annandale and Chalmers Street in Surry Hills, where it resided for almost two decades before relocating earlier this year to The Depot, in Woolloomooloo. Firstdraft’s significant sustainability and longevity of existence is proof of their professionalism and commitment in providing real support for artists.

The awards night saw four Western Sydney organisations recognised for outstanding projects and successful public engagement strategies.

Campbelltown Arts Centre in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art took out the Gallery Project award in the 11+ paid staff category with the highly successful Transforma project. Based in Aids in south-west Sydney this project developed a local culture of stewardship of the St Georges River by involving young people in retrieving dumped cars from the river and using them to build a site-specific sculptural work permanently located in Airds High School. Contemporary artist, Michael Tuffery led the project, working with the community over a number of years to develop relationships and deliver specialised art workshops.

Auburn Arts Studio and Peacock Gallery won the Engagement category (Volunteer up to 2 paid staff) with Lacebook, a project which explored the intersection between traditional craft practices and modern technology by engaging local artists, craftspeople and local artisans, and their diverse arts and crafts practices. Curated by Nicole Barakat, Lacebook resulted in several positive outcomes for the community including the development of Maker’s Circle who meet regularly to make and discuss craft.

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre were also announced as winners in the Engagement Category (11 + paid staff) for their popular Way out West Festival for Children which featured Termite City, a 13-metre tall milk crate construction designed by renowned Australian designer Stephen Mushin. Timed to coincide with CUSP, a touring exhibiton by Object: Australian Design Centre, the theme of the festival encouraged children to use design thinking as problem solving for environmental and social issues. WOW festival attracted over 5,500 people almost half of whom had never visited the arts centre previously.

Blacktown Arts Centre took out the Highly Commended award in the Gallery Projects category (3-10 paid staff) with The Native Institute, a project which explored the 1823 historic site widely recognised as the birthplace of The Stolen Generations. Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and curators inlcuding r e a, Robyn Caughlan, Daniel Boyd, Leanne Tobin, Karla Dickens, Jason Wing and Brook Andrew, the Blacktown Arts Centre hosted several artists’ residencies to create new artworks which reflect the national significance and legacy of the site.

The awards night saw four Western Sydney organisations recognised for outstanding projects and successful public engagement strategies.

Proof that the cultural sector is flourishing in regional NSW, the IMAGinE awards recognised six regional institutions. 

Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre took out the award in the highly contested category of Gallery Projects (3-10 paid staff) for the ambitious re-creation of Margaret Olley’s Studio and successful development of the Margaret Olley Art Centre. The project, led by Sally Watterson and Gallery Director Susi Muddiman was a response to Australian artist Margaret Olley’s expressed wish to have, on her death, her studio re-created and her art collection housed at the Tweed Regional Gallery.

The $4 million dollar project was jointly funded by the Margaret Olley Art Trust, the Federal Government, NSW Government, Tweed Shire Council, Tweed Regional Gallery Foundation Ltd and Friends of Tweed Regional Gallery. Architect Bud Brannigan provided design expertise to ensure the re-creation of Olley’s home studio was accurately and respectfully executed.

Immensely popular, the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre has welcomed over 70,000 visitors since opening in March, equating to nearly 3,000 per people week. 

Proof that the cultural sector is flourishing in regional NSW, the IMAGinE awards recognised six regional institutions.

Tamworth Powerstation Museum was announced as winner in the Museum Projects category (Volunteer or up to 2 paid staff) with Quasquicentennial of Light celebrating 125 years of municipal electric light. New England born artist Josh Chaffey was commissioned to create a site specific work on the exterior of the museum which opened in 1988 in the restored Municipal Electric Showroom building. Chaffey’s work utilises energy-efficient LED lights set in a grid pattern to denote the original 21 kilometres of street lighting.

Record numbers attended the event at the popular artist-run initiative 107 Projects in Redfern, demonstrating the awards’ growing popularity and the spirit of IMAGinE: Inspiring Museums and Galleries in Excellence.


The full list of the winners and highly commended can be found at: mgnsw.org.au/sector/winners-2014/


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