After 23 years and 700 exhibitions, things are changing
AFTER almost 23 years and 700 exhibitions, Gympie Region Art Gallery director Joolie Gibbs is stepping down and taking some well deserved time to relax, get into her own art focus on the creativity that set her on her career path.
Yesterday was Joolie’s last day on the job, as she heads into six months long service leave and then retirement, and in between meeting with countless well wishers she was able to reflect on a career that has gone hand in hand with the establishment, expansion and ongoing success of Gympie’s art gallery.
Her greatest achievement since landing her dream job almost 23 years ago, was the gallery’s transformation five years later, obtaining the funding to install the lift and workshop space.
The highlight of her time at the helm of the Nash Street institution? Receiving the Museums and Galleries of Queensland Gallery Achievement Award in 2010.
It was the pinnacle of many highlights, including overseeing 700 exhibitions, and being manager to a “wonderful team of staff and volunteers”, which include current members Sandra Ross, Julie Pratt and Hayley Mahaffey.
And are there any regrets?
“It has been the best job anyone could have; being surrounded by creative people,” she yesterday in between visitors and wrapping up a job made only more challenging by the restrictions of the pandemic.
Yes, there are some mixed emotions; after 23 years it is going to be hard to step down and let other people finish the projects Joolie started, but she knows it is something she must do, and she is happy to do it.
“A year ago it would never have occurred to me to retire,” she said yesterday.
“But I am 66 on my next birthday.
“I feel I have earned the time to do my own thing.
“I think the gallery has been very well supported by this community and I hope the community continues to support it. I am sure it will go from strength to strength.”
Instead of one big farewell party, there has been a series of “mini” parties over the past month, because of social distancing restrictions.
Gympie Regional Council posted a goodbye message, saying:
“From all of us at Council, we would like to wish Joolie all the best and thank her for all of the hard work she has put in to making the Gallery the artistic hub of the Gympie Region.”
This will not be the last we see of Joolie. She is retiring in the Gympie region and her artistic endeavours will be part of an exhibition entitled Wild/flower Women III at the gallery in about eight weeks time.
The exhibition draws inspiration from the heritage of women who have walked Cooloola country from Traditional Owners as well as ‘wild/flower women’ Kathleen McArthur and Judith Wright, including their campaigning to establish Cooloola National Park.
It profiles contemporary female artists who re-energise heritage and history with their own responses to our wildflowers, natural heritage and walking together on country.
Wild/flower Women III will create a sense of the different perspectives, scales and scope of the wallum (that’s where Joolie will come in) and Cooloola ecologies, the relationships between humans and the more than human world, and ways of seeing inspired by art and nature.