Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Castlemaine Art Museum

Paula Pope, pictured in August 2017, on the night 400 members of the CAM met at the Castlemaine town hall tonight to hear board chairwoman Jan Savage announce the gallery would stay open.

William Vallely, Castlemaine Art Museum showing signs of financial recovery, but ‘not out of the woods yet’, Bendigo Advertiser, 14 November 2018

The Castlemaine Art Museum is showing signs of financial recovery, recording a net operating surplus of close to half a million dollars last financial year, but its acting chairperson warned the institution was not “out of the woods yet”.

The 105-year-old gallery was saved from closure in August 2017 through a number of generous donations from the community.

Donations of around $230,000 and close to $300,000 in government grants in the 2017-18 financial year, combined with reduced expenses, has given the gallery a more stable foundation from which to grow, acting chairperson Craig Mutton said.

“We’ve managed to get ourselves back on our feet,” he said.
Mr Mutton said the surplus cash had given the CAM extra time to develop a business strategy going forward.

It’s also enabled them to recently advertise a position for an art gallery manager.

The manager will oversee modest programming this financial year after the gallery operated a “fairly static display” in 2017-18, Mr Mutton said.

In 2016-17 the gallery recorded a deficit of $165,272, which improved to a surplus of $433,078 in 2017-18.

The gallery’s over-reliance on the generosity of the community is not lost on the CAM board, according to Mr Mutton, who said plans are afoot to engage larger institutions in more sustainable long-term partnerships.

These could include universities or local government, he said.

Unlike the Bendigo Art Gallery, the Castlemaine institution is a non-government organisation and not operated by the local council.

The Mount Alexander Shire Council and the state government’s arts department, Creative Victoria, provide financial support to CAM.

The CAM’s request for $100,000 in annual funding from the Mount Alexander Shire was knocked back by the council in June, who instead chose to increase their existing funding by $7000, bringing the shire’s annual contribution to around $30,000.

Mount Alexander Shire mayor Bronwen Machin at the time described CAM’s request as a “big ask” in the current financial climate.

“It’s the equivalent of providing another service, as councillors we understand the value of our whole art scene, we’re not debating that at all. We need to work out how to do it (support the gallery), and we’re not prepared to do that until we have some clarity on how they’re going to operate going forward,” she said.

The CAM will hold its AGM at 5.30pm on November 22 at the Theatre Royal, Castlemaine.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Mr Brian Oldman, South Australian Museum PO Box 234 Adelaide, South Australia 5001 Australia, © CAMD 2022
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