Many hands come together to make the Manning Regional Art Gallery a vibrant cultural hub. This vibrancy is the result of a community-wide process that involves hundreds of local residents – artists, makers, curators, educators, architects, builders, bakers and more – working under the guidance of director Rachel Piercy, and dedicated staff, to create diverse exhibitions, events and public programs. The building began its life as the headmaster’s cottage for Taree Primary School and continues to foster teaching and learning, offering workshops and professional development opportunities to emerging and established artists, engaging young people and providing interactive programs for kids. Situated on the traditional lands of the Biripi people, Manning has a strong connection to the community of the Gathang speaking nation. It’s a place for people to come together and be inspired by what they see; to meet, engage with, be challenged, and get motivated. Renovated in 2007, the gallery now comprises a generous exhibition area, with adjoining studio workshop, collection store and outdoor art space. The gallery shop showcases jewellery, textiles, books, and homewares crafted by local, regional and national artists.
2020 has seen the completion of a new artist in residence space ready for programs in 2021.
The gallery is also proud to have an active members’ group, The Friends of the Gallery, and a network of devoted volunteers. The Friends is an independent, voluntary, not-for-profit organisation committed to supporting and developing the Manning Regional Art Gallery and the growth of the visual arts in the Manning Valley.
The Naked & Nude Art Prize (formerly the Manning Art Prize) has established itself as a popular and prestigious event in the Australian arts calendar, and attracts entries from as far afield as Western Australia and New Zealand. In 2013 the biennial prize was renamed Naked & Nude – an evocative platform for creative inspiration. The immense diversity in artists’ interpretations of the concept is a highlight of the exhibition and builds on the gallery collection with past winners including Wendy Sharpe, Dagmar Cyrulla and Robert Malherbe. The Naked & Nude Art Prize will be held again in 2021.