ARTISTIC RETIREMENT: Tweed Regional Art Gallery volunteer Heather McLachlan. The gallery will celebrate it's 30th anniversary this year.
ARTISTIC RETIREMENT: Tweed Regional Art Gallery volunteer Heather McLachlan. The gallery will celebrate it's 30th anniversary this year.

Art sparks new painting passion

IT'S never too late for a change or to learn new things as former Japanese language teacher Heather McLachlan discovered when she retired.

Heather has been a volunteer for the decade since she retired, at the Tweed Regional Gallery guiding visitors around the facility and she is also editor of the Friends of the Gallery magazine.

"I think it's 10 years - since I retired in those 10 years - initially I was on the Friends (of the Gallery) committee so that's basically fundraising and catering for openings and that sort of thing," she said.

"The second year I started volunteering I took over editing the friends newsletter - artifacts - that's for me that was a huge learning curve because I'd never been an editor. I had always written a bit but never edited. I had been a teacher and I taught Japanese so it doesn't really translate but I've always been really interested in art and always loved drawing.

"When I was invited to come out here by a friend who was already volunteering - it was a bit of a marriage made in heaven for me because it gave me some focus as soon as I retired. Apart from doing more of the things I love like gardening and all of that sort of thing it meant that I had a new area to focus on which was fabulous."

Heather said she had loved being involved in the gallery and her involvement has evolved over the years.

"In 2011 the Archibald came up here and that was about the time the gallery got an education officer for the first time and one of her briefs was to set up a guides program so a few of us volunteered to be trained as guides," Heather said.

"We trained to guide the Archibald that year and then the next year it became a full-blown program."

She is currently busy learning all about the newest exhibition to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the regional gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre.

The Tweed Regional Gallery (formerly known as the Tweed River Art Gallery), opened during the Bicentennial Year of 1988 in a restored federation-style family home located on the banks of the Tweed River on Tumbulgum Road, Murwillumbah.

After much fundraising and a generous donation of land by Doug Anthony AC and Margot Anthony, the gallery moved to its current scenic rural location in Murwillumbah South in 2004.

The facility was designed by award-winning Brisbane architect Bud Brannigan. The second stage of the building was opened in 2006 by iconic Australian painter Margaret Olley AC, and in 2014, the Margaret Olley Art Centre officially opened, which included a re-creation of rooms from her home studio in Duxford Street, Paddington.

To honour the Gallery's 30th anniversary, gallery director Susi Muddiman OAM has curated an exhibition from the collection which celebrates its development since 1988 and surveys the four focus areas that inform acquisitions:;Australian portraits; artworks of regional relevance; Australian artists' prints; and the life and work of Margaret Olley (and that her contemporaries).

Artists featured include Robert Hannaford, Nicholas Harding, Euan Macleod, Margaret Olley, Joshua Yeldham, Ben Quilty, William Robinson, Monica Rohan, Judy Watson, Anne Zahalka, and Michael Zavros.

The exhibition is now on view at the gallery and will continue until Sunday June 20, 2019.

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