Local artists Paddy Milne, David Godkin, Kathy Whelan and Linda Lees are among those welcoming the amalgamation of the two regional arts groups.
TWO regional arts groups that have been fostering the arts in their local communities for years, have joined forces, with the aim of pooling their resources for the benefit of all.
The Goulburn and North East Arts Alliance Inc (GANEAA) and North East Artisans (NEA) are now one, having decided to amalgamate at the end of last year.
NEA voted for the amalgamation at a recent special general meeting - a decision confirmed by GANEAA at their annual general meeting
North East Artisans was formed in 2014; the not-forprofit organisation operating as a cooperative model and providing support and space for local artists to practise including a gallery shop in Benalla where they can showcase and sell their work.
The Goulburn and North East Arts Alliance Inc was formed in 1999 and is an organisation of volunteers who supports and advocates for artists, while also hosting exhibitions and the biennial Across the Arts Forum, where renowned artists hold workshops in a wide variety of art forms.
GANEAA president Kathy Whelan said the groups were like-minded in their efforts to support regional artists and promote arts in the community. She said members will come together under the GANEAA banner, simplifying administration, taking part in joint exhibitions and events, and utilising the gallery shop in Benalla.
“We both want to add to the pride of our regional community and the richness of the arts that is here,” she said.
“We are very lucky in Wangaratta and Benalla to have such good galleries and such a vibrant arts scene.”
Ms Whelan said about half GANEAA members were already NEA members so there was already interaction and overlap between the two groups. She said strong connections were also made when an Irish band was formed that included members from both groups.
“We decided we should get together and combine our forces,” she said.
“Both of us are big on workshops for our community, including NEA’S workshops for kids at risk, while we do a lot of workshops for professional development, where professional and emerging artists can learn new skills.
“We’re also both really keen on music - NEA has always had concerts and GANEAA loves to have singer songwriters involved in the Across the Arts forums and we are both into sustainability and the environment, so it’s really a good combination I think.”
Ms Whelan said it was a positive development and she was thrilled by the enthusiasm shown by volunteers who attended their recent AGM in November.
The groups are celebrating their merger with the “Coming Together” exhibition currently being held at Café Martini in Wangaratta, while more workshops are being planned for both Benalla and Wangaratta featuring artists including Anita Laurence and Jo Briscomb.
While some administrative details are still to be finalised, GANEAA is expected to have approximately 700 members, with current NEA members to receive a year’s free membership in the merged group.
The new committee includes Kathy Whelan (president), Tim Dickinson (treasurer), Jarita Stubbs (vice treasurer), Linda Lees (secretary), Paddy Milne (website coordinator), Rose Wedler and Sandy Wingate (publicity officers), and Desales Turner (NEA shop coordinator)
This article, written by Anita McPherson, appeared in the Wangaratta Chronicle on Monday 17 September 2022. Photograph - Nick Richard.
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GANEAA (Goulburn and North East Arts Alliance)