Fairley Foundation trustees visited selected projects and foundation-funded programs in Shepparton yesterday ahead of last night’s 2019 Fairley La Trobe Lecture.
Foundation chair Andrew Fairley met with Shepparton Art Museum director Rebecca Coates for an update on the construction of the new museum at Victoria Park Lake.
The foundation is a significant contributor to the SAM Foundation.
Mr Fairley was certain the new museum would become a landmark on the cultural landscape of Shepparton, as art museums have become in Hobart and Bendigo.
‘‘I’m sure the MONA and Bendigo effect will raise our sense of confidence as well as our tourism profile,’’ he said.
Trustees also toured the current exhibition of Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award winners.
Mr Fairley said ceramics were experiencing a resurgence in the arts and SAM, with its large collection of Australian ceramics, was well ahead of the game.
‘‘With ceramics — its time has come. People have to wait a year to get into an eight-week ceramics course in Melbourne. It’s hugely popular,’’ he said.
Trustees also met with representatives from Shepparton musical groups at Chapel on Maude, in Maude St.
The former Wesley Church was now used as a rehearsal space by Goulburn Valley Concert Orchestra, choir 36 Degrees South and Shepparton Brass and Wind.
The groups lease the heritage-listed building from owners Shepparton Uniting Church and were pushing to turn the space into a community-owned music and arts hub.
Mr Fairley was impressed by the building.
‘‘This is a game changer,’’ he said.
‘‘What an extraordinarily wonderful opportunity to create a community space,’’ he said.
GV Concert Orchestra founder and director Wendy Oakes said the loss of rehearsal space at Shepparton High School, because of the impending schools merger, meant the orchestra desperately needed a space of its own.
‘‘We have to find a permanent space and this could be such a fantastic community hub for musicians,’’ Mrs Oakes said.
Foundation trustees also met Greater Shepparton City Council councillors and heard from representatives of the Heinze Music Program.
They also met with Shepparton pediatrician Peter Eastaugh to discuss the future of his Neighbourhood Schools project, which deals with childhood trauma and learning difficulties.