I was in the Modern Grocer’s having my short macchiato this morning and flipping through the Sydney Morning Herald when I was arrested, on page 8, by a colourful picture of Margaret Olley and her agent in the vivid and chaotic setting of her home. The news it carried made my gasp with excitement.
Margaret’s agent, with her consent given the day before she died, has signed an agreement to bequeath a $1 million trust fund to Tweed River Art Gallery to establish a wing housing her memorabilia, including ephemera, art works, photographs, and more.
This is a stunning acquisition for the gallery, and will make it more than ever a centre of excellence in art. The gallery was flooded with visitors for the Archibald Prize 2011 exhibition, starring Ben Quilty’s portrait of Olley. 28, 563 visitors came in all, with a daily average of 952.
Much of Margaret’s childhood was spent in the Tweed River Valley, so it is fitting that it will be the home of her collection.
Congratulations to Susi Muddiman, the director, and to her staff and Friends of the Gallery who worked so hard to welcome the thousands of visitors for the Archibald exhibition.
And the new wing to the gallery will make Murwillumbah shine more than ever, a jewel in this beautiful valley.