What defines us as a civilised society is not only our fiscal performance, nor our ranking amongst the industrialized nations of the world, but also the degree to which our social inter-dependence, the sense of being obliged to give to one’s community, constitutes an important value.’
Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley thanked and congratulated supporters of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) recently … ‘for their generosity, commitment… and contribution to our creative state’.
Director Tony Ellwood AO announced the institution’s highest year of philanthropic support on record through the NGV Foundation when during the course of the financial year 2016-2017, some $39.7 million was raised.
‘We are grateful to our supporters for their incredible generosity, especially those who have contributed to this significant year of fundraising. Their philanthropic contributions will have transformative effects on the Gallery, including supporting the growth, preservation, presentation and awareness of the NGV Collection for all Australians,’ said Ellwood.
The NGV Foundation received over $14 million in donated cultural assets, which included the Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei’s generous donation of his Letgo room a feature of the outstanding Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei international exhibition, and Australian artist Jim Dine’s gift of 249 prints.
Tony Ellwood is much admired, the custodian of a collection worth billions and an executive answerable to government, trustees, donors, sponsors, artists and anyone who takes an interest in the NGV and its work. He always goes the extra mile for others and they offer him their support.
The youthful energy driven Director grew up in regional Victoria and has been raising the bar of excellence on all fronts, especially audience engagement, since returning to his old stomping ground from being Director QAGOMA, Brisbane 2007-2012. He said at the time, “It’s too easy to sit back and say, ‘We have the best collection in the country, we have the best local art history, the inheritance’,” Ellwood said. “If we’re not careful, we will be lost for a generation… I want us to be active, not only in the historic and scholarly work that we do but in the inventive way we take museology as a discipline.”
The Foundation’s contributions, include an extraordinarily generous $17.9 million, which was bequeathed to the gallery by the late Professor Alan Shaw AO (1916-2012) and his wife Mrs Peggy Shaw.
Dedicated supporters of the NGV for over three decades, they are revered for their incredible benefaction to the arts, Australian charities and the community of Victoria.
Professor Shaw is particularly remembered as ‘one of Australia’s most distinguished and prolific historians’ who, over a long career, also ‘made foundational contributions to the history of colonial Australia, especially of the convict era, of British imperialism and of his own state, Victoria.
Other significant contributions were made by Krystyna Campbell-Pretty, Leigh Clifford AO and Sue Clifford, John Downer AM and Rose Downer, The Nicole Chow Family Foundation, The Neilson Foundation, Peter Clemenger AO and Joan Clemenger AO, Fox Family Foundation, Ken Harrison AM and Jill Harrison.
Genuine citizenship involves active participation in the vast realm of human affairs known as civil society. This encompasses all the institutions through which we express our interests and values by give back to the community in which we live in a myriad of ways.
The value of our citizenship can be measured in countless ways , often through subtle daily interactions, which can give both form and substance to everyday life.
Honesty, perseverance, self-restraint, personal responsibility, service to others and a willingness to offer a helping hand to sustain those who may fall behind, are all important. Through the generosity of individuals passionate about making a difference …
… ‘this exceptional performance in fundraising will play an important role in the growth of the NGV in the coming years. It is the wide ranging and continued generosity from the community that ensures the NGV can keep doing what it does best,’ said Leigh Clifford AO, Chairman, NGV Foundation Board.
Let’s hope the new generation takes up the baton as it is passed.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2017