Lismore Regional Gallery is selling membership to Friends of the Gallery.
Lismore Regional Gallery is selling membership to Friends of the Gallery.

Lismore Gallery offers ‘Friends with Benefits’

IF YOU'VE been told money can't buy friendship then think again because the Lismore Regional Gallery is selling membership to "Friends of the Gallery".

It allows people to treat themselves or someone else with the gift of friendship.

"Now I feel involved with the gallery, and I've connected with a lot of great people," one new member said.

Membership benefits include monthly morning teas with artists' talks, discounted drinks at the bar at gallery exhibition openings, discounts on merchandise, and trips to other galleries.

Through fundraising, the Friends have recently paid for the gallery's AUSLAN interpreting and bought a Will Ashton painting, Landscape at Bangalow, and a Hannah Cabinet drawer for the gallery's permanent collection.

President Ron Dowell said members came from all over the Northern Rivers.

"I want to make the Friends feel special," Mr Dowell said.

"I have spearheaded exclusive Friends events such as the Archibald Prize preview.''

Another exclusive Friends event was a Christmas gathering in the Gallery Event Space on December 5.

You will find the Friends membership form at the gallery's front desk, the Friends Facebook page, or by emailing lrgfriends@gmail.com. Prices are: individual membership: one year $40, or $20 (concession); three years $100, or $50 (concession).

"Don't miss out on the benefits of being a Friend,'' Mr Dowell said.

CURRENT SHOW

AND PROJECT

The current exhibition and project is The Wonders of the Hannah Cabinet, which will be open every Wednesday at 10.30am and on the fourth Sunday of the month at 11am.

It is by master craftsman Geoff Hannah and his talented students: Paul Armour, Barbara Riordan, Rick Stewart, Gary Shallala-Hudson, Brian Henry, Francesco Stassi and Greg Foster.

Geoff Hannah (OAM)

Geoff was born and raised in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.

He started his own furniture business in 1973. On receiving a Churchill Fellowship in 1980 he travelled to France and England and studied furniture at the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre in Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Apart from being a gifted master craftsman, Geoff is a renowned teacher of his craft, having taught aspiring woodworkers from Longreach to Launceston and Muckadilla to Perth ... not forgetting that he continues to conduct classes in Lismore.

Geoff was made an Honorary Fellow of Southern Cross University in 2009 and in 2018 he was awarded the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the visual arts through the production of furniture and marquetry.

Geoff Hannah and his cabinet
Geoff Hannah and his cabinet

THE HANNAH CABINET

Geoff Hannah worked on the cabinet for six and a half years.

The cabinet is made in the traditional European style and consists of 34 types of solid timbers and veneers, four kinds of rare shells and 17 varieties of precious and semi-precious stones, with the main frame being mahogany and the columns ebony.

When Bungendore Wood Works Gallery near Canberra recently displayed the cabinet, visitations increased by 44 per cent.

David MacLaren, the artistic director, said: "The Hannah Cabinet should remain in Australia and be placed in a national public gallery or institution, under expert care, to thrill Australians and visitors to this country for decades, if not centuries to come.''

Hannah Cabinet
Hannah Cabinet

BRINGING THE CABINET HOME

The aim of this project is to raise $1 million over the next 22 months to purchase the Hannah Cabinet to become part of the permanent collection of the Lismore Regional Gallery.

This unique opportunity will be a first for regional Australia.

Never before has an iconic work of art, which has been independently valued at $1 million, been housed in the town where it was created by a local renowned master craftsman.

To progress the fundraising program, a Hannah Cabinet Acquisition Team has been established, led by locals Gaela Hurford and Brian Henry, and while the gallery is seeking local support it will also be focusing on personal approaches to philanthropic individuals, organisations and foundations.