Ipswich Art Gallery director joins prestigious board

It started with Ipswich artist Leonard Brown winning the inaugural Brisbane Portrait Prize in 2019.

Now, with the appointment of Ipswich Art Gallery Director Claire Sourgnes to the Board, Ipswich’s role is cemented in the future of the esteemed Brisbane Portrait Prize.

Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chairperson Councillor Andrew Fechner said the combination of Ms Sourgnes’ extensive experience and networks plus Ipswich Art Gallery’s strong reputation made for a perfect complement to the Board of the Brisbane Portrait Prize.

“Ipswich Art Gallery is well-loved by local artists and the public alike, featuring constantly-changing exhibitions and an enviable collection of over 2,000 works,” Cr Fechner said.

“In fact, one of the gallery’s key collection works by Davida Allen is currently on loan and featured in a national tour celebrating a centenary of Australia’s most beloved portraiture prize, Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize.

“As a forward-thinking regional gallery celebrated for its high-calibre exhibitions, collections and programs, this latest relationship with the Brisbane Portrait Prize strengthens the gallery’s regional leadership role.

“The gallery is in safe hands with Claire at the helm, and her appointment is not only a deserving recognition of her experience and advocacy for the arts but a fantastic opportunity to extend and strengthen Ipswich Art Gallery’s network and offering to our own community and visitors.”

Brisbane Portrait Prize Board Chair Anna Reynolds said the prize had grown over the last five years to become an anticipated event in Queensland’s cultural calendar.

“Since launching in 2019, the Brisbane Portrait Prize has received 2,578 entries from a diverse range of artists and awarded $341,000 in cash prizes,” Ms Reynolds said.

“I am proud of how it motivates and supports both emerging and experienced artists and provides them with exhibiting and networking opportunities in our own region.

“As the prize continues to flourish, we are delighted to have Claire Sourgnes join the Board.

“Claire’s deep understanding of the communities in which she works and the transformative power of art will add value to the Brisbane Portrait Prize, and to audiences and artists across the broader region.”

Ipswich Art Gallery Director Claire Sourgnes said she was thrilled to support artists in expanding their exploration of contemporary portraiture through this position.

“The Brisbane Portrait Prize enhances and extends notions of identity, place and character in Brisbane in a way that supports artists and broadens public engagement with the arts,” Ms Sourgnes said.

“As a regional Gallery Director, exploration of these notions is central to our programming at Ipswich Art Gallery, and indeed, to our community.

“Portraiture, with its combination of story-telling and contemporary art, has the potential to build audiences and play an important role in portraying the people who shape our history, development and culture.

“Regional galleries are deeply committed to unpacking their community’s sense of identity, culture and spirit.

“This can be done in many ways, but there is none more accessible and recognisable than contemporary portraiture.”

Ipswich Art Gallery is in a beautifully restored heritage building in Ipswich Central that was originally the first town hall built in Queensland.

The gallery is renowned for its school holiday programs, children’s exhibitions and performances in The Children’s Gallery, which was Australia’s first permanent interactive gallery space for under-12s.

Located in d’Arcy Doyle Place, the gallery is open 10am to 5pm every day excluding public holidays.

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