Over the past few months NEA's proposed amalgamation with Ganeaa has proved more complex than anticipated. NEA has a;lso faced the difficult decision of closing its doors at 28 B and C Carrier Street in September and now needs to find a new home.
Simon Ruppert's interview with De Sales Turner for the Ensign released on the 4th June provides an excellent insight into the making of this decision and endeavours being made by NEA to find a new home.
"After nearly nine years of trading in Benalla, North East Artisans will close its doors to the public. It is, however, working with Benalla Rural City Council to try to find a new home.
The art collective has, for almost a decade, offered workshops and exhibitions, as well as creating a safe place for artists to show and sell their creations.
Spokesperson DeSales Turner said members had had to make a lot of hard and courageous decisions along the way.
“Let’s face it, the decision to continue trading as a 100 per cent volunteer-run organisation after an auspicious start as a pop-up shop was gutsy,“ Dr Turner said. “(It’s) a testimony to the many people who have served hard, with an indomitable will to stay alive.”
NEA leaves with a proud track record of service to the community.
“We cannot adequately express how grateful we are to the many people who made NEA possible,” Dr Turner said. “The list of those to whom we extend our thanks include the visionary management team who first brought NEA into existence; our board and committee of management; our volunteers; and members of the community who frequented our shop and events.
“Additionally, we include in our thanks gratitude to various businesses throughout Benalla who supported us in fundraising events, and Benalla (Rural City) Council, with whom are working to develop a new business plan and to locate a new premises from which to trade.
“When I think back on all we achieved I am in awe — we renovated and refurbished three disused buildings and in the process created safe spaces for artists to work.
“We ran music gigs and iconic exhibitions; we participated in numerous community events and initiatives — really, we gave it our all. Not a bad effort.
“Throughout all of our experiences and adventures we have learned much and we will now put our efforts and energy into regrouping.”
That will include developing a new business plan; engaging in fundraising; securing sponsorship; and locating a viable and affordable trading place.
One way the community can support NEA until it closes is by visiting NEA in the months of June, July and August to view the art exhibitions of Leon Pappas and Merv Beamish.
NEA will still have many works of art available in the shop for purchase, until volunteers start clearing out in September.
So it might be a good time to secure that special one-of-a-kind gift that would be perfect for Christmas.
“There will be a donation box in the shop for those who would like to make an offering to help NEA in their desire to move forward,” Dr Turner said.
“Thank you Benalla for helping NEA to realise the dream and we look forward to experiencing what the future holds.”
Regular updates on news of interest to NEA artisans, friends and community members and on key events in the NEA calendar. This blog complements NEA on Facebook.
Benalla Art Gallery
Shepparton Art Museum
Wangaratta Art Gallery
Benalla Camera Club
Broken River Potters
Broken River Painters
Broken River Writers
Wots4Me Benalla Youth
Art Gallery on Ovens
Bush Gatherings -Violet Town
GANEAA (Goulburn and North East Arts Alliance)