Moree Plains Gallery has bid a sad farewell to education officer Janelle Boyd, who finished up in the role on Friday (February 17) after a 29-year association with the gallery.
Janelle was one of the first teachers at Moree Plains Gallery when it was established in 1988 during which time she helped Aboriginal artists develop their own business.
This led to Janelle’s involvement in establishing the successful Yurundiali Aboriginal Corporation.
After a break, Janelle returned to the gallery in 2005, running art classes through TAFE before taking on the permanent/part-time role of education officer. In this role she worked with more than 15 different community organisations, teaching roughly 300 students of all ages and abilities each week.
Janelle has always been passionate about art being all-inclusive and worked hard making a welcome space for people from all walks of life to come together, create, meet new people, be themselves, heal, and share a love of art.
“The Moree Plains Gallery is an extraordinary place, encouraging all members of our community to create, communicate and grow with creativity,” she said.
“We have always been proud of our ‘all are welcome’ and ‘judgement free zone’. Our greatest achievement is the level playing ground that art creates. It is a place that people from all walks of life, culture, religion, age and abilities can share their creativity. I cannot underestimate the positive impact that the gallery has had on our local community.”
Janelle said she will miss this community involvement and all the people she has worked with.
One of her greatest achievements has been seeing people grow through art.
“Just the individual successes of people; being able to move their life forward and develop self-confidence,” she said.
On Monday Janelle will begin a new chapter as a full-time teacher at Barwon Learning Centre, however she won’t be far from the gallery as she will continue to run Saturday art classes.
“I’m very sad to leave [the gallery] but very excited to start at the Barwon School which will bring on new challenges,” she said.
Moree Plains Gallery held a farewell lunch for Janelle on Friday.
Gallery director Vivien Clyne said it is very sad to lose Janelle.
“It’s a bit of an end of an era,” she said.
“She’s always had a connection to the gallery through the community programs she’s been involved with.”
Ms Clyne said Janelle has a way of engaging with people from all backgrounds which has positively boosted community access to the gallery.
“People really come for Janelle,” she said.
“She’s able to engage with so many different people from all walks of life, she’s brought in a whole new group of people who would never have come to the gallery before. She’s come up with so many different ways of engaging with people.
“She’s really fabulous.”
Moree Plains Gallery is currently in the process of hiring a new education officer.
Ms Clyne said while the gallery won’t be the same without Janelle, the relationship witn Gwydir Industries and various other community organisations will continue.
“It’s very sad she’s going but we’re very excited to see where the programs go to from here and look forward to continuing our community engagement activites,” she said.