Member of MONA foundation team to speak at Benalla Art Gallery

Expert advice: Nicole Durling will speak at Benalla Art Gallery on January 30. Photo by Contributed

Benalla Art Gallery presents the second talk in its “The Power of Cultural Infrastructure” series at the end of this month.

The talk series, which started in December, is presented in partnership with RACV and MPavilion, and explores real-world social, cultural, and economic outcomes stemming from investment in leading cultural organisations.

The January talk will be presented by Nicole Durling, who in 2021 was appointed as the new Director of CRAFT — Melbourne’s leading centre for contemporary craft and design.

The Power of Culture: Benalla Art Gallery will host a talk by former MONA director Nicole Durling this month. Photo by Contributed

Ms Durling had previously spent 15 years with MONA in Hobart.

She was a member of its foundation team collaborating on its building design, curatorial direction, brand establishment, and the installation of the MONA collection in preparation for its opening in 2011.

Benalla Art Gallery director, Eric Nash, said it was another opportunity for the community to hear from a leading voice in the sector and to consider opportunities for the Rose City.

“It’s hard to believe MONA only opened just over a decade ago.” Mr Nash said.

“It is truly a cultural phenomenon — a museum experience which has compelled a broad audience beyond traditional arts lovers to head to Hobart in droves.

“I’m excited for our community to hear from one of MONA’s foundation team about how that success was achieved, and also about the exciting changes Nicole is now making at CRAFT, with whom Benalla Art Gallery shares a close relationship, as seen with our recent collaborative exhibition Temporal Artefacts.”

This talk will particularly explore how galleries can be architecturally and programmatically developed to not only complement the surrounding environment, but to also positively engage a broader cross section of their community.

Benalla Mayor Bernie Hearn said she was eager to hear from a speaker of Durling’s calibre.

“Following December’s very well received talk by Katrina Sedgwick OAM, it’s wonderful to start the new year hearing from another esteemed speaker,” Cr Hearn said.

“Hosting talks of this quality help us to envisage an even more ambitious and engaging future for our gallery and the community.

“This talk will be particularly interesting given our gallery’s setting between the popular Lake Benalla and Botanical Gardens.”

The talk will take place in the Ledger Gallery on Sunday, January 30, from 10.30am.

Numbers are strictly limited. To secure your place, email