Thursday 28 August 2008
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Madam President, there are strong indications that Tasmania is shaping up to become an important centre for arts tourism.  Big developments in the arts sector are centred in Hobart, but they offer an opportunity for all of the State.  The artistic director of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Juliana Engberg, says a group of private collectors has been doing 'amazing groundwork' to make Hobart a centre for arts tourism.  The foremost collector is, of course, David Walsh.
Mr Martin - The City of Glenorchy actually, not Hobart.
Mr FINCH - Thank you, okay. 
Those who do not know much about David Walsh may have noticed the rather spectacular building site that is on the cliff face at the Moorilla Estate vineyard.  A recent Australian Financial Review glossy insert magazine - Life and Leisure, Luxury 08, issue 5 - has a very detailed report on David Walsh's art venture headed 'Art Hobart:  the new Bilbao'.  I quote from the introduction:
'When [the gallery] opens in March 2010, it will in all likelihood be the southern hemisphere's largest privately-owned art museum certainly the largest in Australia by a long shot featuring three floors packed with art'. 
Madam President, David Walsh has amassed an art collection valued at about $90 million to display in his $70 million Museum of Old and New Art - MONA - at Moorilla.  I will just point out that David Walsh was very good at maths at school here in Hobart and he has made his money by developing some very complex mathematical-based betting systems.  I am not sure if he uses Betfair but he probably does, but certainly it is the stuff of fairytales, Madam President, and an inspiration to those reluctant school maths students.
Mr Walsh is also tendering to secure a long-term lease over the 3 000 square metre Macquarie Wharf space for a giant exhibition centre.
Ms Thorp - How many giants does he plan to employ?
Ms Forrest - Size matters, obviously.
Mr FINCH - That is right.  The magazine article continues:
'MONA may be more than a year off opening but there is a palpable sense of excitement in Hobart about what Walsh's projects may do for Tasmania.'
Certainly, there are other advantages for arts tourism.  Here in Hobart few people know that Hobart has one of the leading galleries of Aboriginal art and that is the Arts Mob, near Macquarie Wharf.  There is the development of the new private collectors gallery at Peppermint Bay, the opening of the new Detached gallery in Campbell Street and of course, as we have spoken about in budget Estimates, the redevelopment of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
Juliana Engberg of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art who was in Hobart earlier this month is quoted in the Mercury.  The article reads:
'Ms Engberg said "all the cherries are lining up" for Hobart to emerge on the international art scene. 
"There is no reason why Hobart could not be comparable to a small number of European cities known around the world for their culture", she said.
"All of a sudden you have a splendid number of private individuals, all willing to put their money behind a range of new artistic ventures. 
"Tasmania already has an excellent reputation for its excellent wine and food. 
"Being known for its culture is the next logical step." '
That was in the Mercury last week.
All these developments I have mentioned, Madam President, are in or near Hobart, but let us not fall into the trap of cultural parochial jealousy.  I am sure we will not.  Anything that attracts art tourism to Tasmania benefits the whole State and offers opportunities for arts projects around the State.  If you look near my electorate of Rosevears, Launceston has its spectacular Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Inveresk.  In my own electorate the art ventures there include the Artisan Gallery at Robigana where I go to purchase those special gifts that represent our Tasmanian artistic endeavours.  It is a tourist magnet.  There is TreeForm gallery on Craythorne Road at Rosevears with their outstanding woodwork that finds its markets on the mainland; Indeco with leading design artists Patrick Senior and Mika Lonson, Nigel Lazenby, Peter Zadastra, Julia and Ian Hewitt, and the list just goes on.
It sounds like an ideal location, I hear you say, for an arts trail similar to European ventures and if those international art tourists come to Hobart to see David Walsh's collection they will no doubt be impressed with Tasmania and they will want to come back and venture to the rest of the State to see other art attractions and perhaps a series of art trails.  What an opportunity, Madam President.
I am sure the State Government is watching these developments with great interest and I hope that the Minister for Tourism and the Arts sees the appropriateness of the link in her portfolio and is considering ways that the State Government can match the work that is being done by private collectors.