Dingley Dell bows out
ONE of Ipswich's longest-running galleries will have a new life as a respite centre, when the Ipswich Painters, Potters and Crafts Society hands over the Dingley Dell Gallery tomorrow week.
The Society has enjoyed more than 30 years in the Pine Mountain Rd shop.
Society secretary Ros Armitstead said she was sad about the closure, but it was a group decision.
"It's because we're all getting older; a few of our members have sadly passed away, and we're not getting as much business as we used to," Mrs Armitstead said.
"We probably have about 22 members at the moment, where we used to have 60 or 80.
"Over the last year we've had a few struggles, one of our potters had her house flooded and kiln ruined, and we've lost some amazing artists.
"I guess it's just time, and it's not too sad because the ALARA Association will take it over and people will be coming here for respite and still doing crafts.
"The gallery will also keep its name."
Councillor Cheryl Bromage said the closure marked the end of an era for Ipswich arts.
"They were trailblazers; they were the first group to get their own building and they were very Ipswich-centric," Cr Bromage said.
Mrs Armitstead said the gallery began in 1981 with members donating art to run the premises.
"I remember one potter who used to donate and sell dinner services, they used to sell for $1000 - that just doesn't happen anymore," Mrs Armitstead said.
Mrs Armitstead said the gallery was Ipswich's only private gallery for many years.
Volunteer Maria Deichsel has been a member of the society since it was founded in the 1970s.
"We've had some great exhibitions and have had members achieve amazing things, but all good things must come to an end," Ms Deichsel said.
The gallery will remain open from 11am-4pm Tuesday to Sunday until it closes on Saturday, April 28.
There will be a 20% discount on all stock.