LeAnne Vincent is happy that more art spaces and galleries are opening in Ipswich.
LeAnne Vincent is happy that more art spaces and galleries are opening in Ipswich. Claudia Baxter

Is Ipswich capital of Qld art?

SOME cities boast huge numbers of fast food outlets on their main streets, but Ipswich prefers to show off its more cultured side.

The Ipswich CBD is now home to seven art galleries, all located just streets apart.

Naked Arts Gallery and Studio will open soon, joining the Ipswich Art Gallery, Ipswich Community Gallery, the Swich Contemporary Art Space, Tirra Lirra Ipswich Emporium's Indigenous Art Gallery, the Old Ipswich Courthouse Gallery and Gallery Newtown.

Swich Contemporary Art Space Gallery director LeAnne Vincent said she welcomed additions to the Ipswich art scene.

"It's great seeing all sorts of galleries opening, it gives the Ipswich public something different," Ms Vincent said.

Ms Vincent said that her 14-month-old contemporary gallery had been a great success.

"We've had an enormous response from the community and a lot of local artists have been able to connect and produce collaborative projects," Ms Vincent said.

She said the arts space addressed a need for visual and other contemporary arts.

"When we started, there weren't any other independent contemporary galleries," Ms Vincent said. "Now, local artists have so many more opportunities."

The city council's cultural services committee chairman, Cr Charlie Pisasale, said that Ipswich's art profile was on the rise, but the current model of community involvement and support needed to continue in order for the city to lay claim to being an "art capital".

Cr Pisasale said the city's rising profile had "something to do with community groups getting involved with art and galleries."

"I've certainly seen people take notice of arts and get involved rather than take a back seat," Cr Pisasale said.

He said that this involvement made for a diverse art scape, and cited quilt exhibitions, F-111 displays, and the involvement of Pacific Island and indigenous groups as examples. Cr Pisasale said that the Ipswich Art Gallery is visited by about 85,600 visitors a year, well above the average for regional gallery visitation, which ranged up to 40,000.

Ms Vincent said that people were travelling from Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast to visit galleries and attend the ARTalk Philosophy Cafe.



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