At a public meeting, held on Monday 24th March 2014, at 7pm Hunter Room, City Hall the following resolutions were unanimously passed by the 300+ participants who packed the room:
This meeting expresses appreciation of the contribution to the city and the Art Gallery by Judy Jaeger and Ron Ramsey and wishes them the very best for the future. It further expresses gratitude to Ron and Judy and the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation for their achievement in obtaining Black Totem II for the city, a sculpture of international standing that places the Newcastle Art Gallery firmly on the international sculpture map.
This meeting condemns the restructure of Newcastle’s cultural institutions that eliminates the position of Directors of the Newcastle Museum and the Newcastle Art Gallery. It deplores the way in which this was done and the disregard for the personnel involved. We are very proud of our cultural institutions and extremely appreciative of the staff that have developed them to such a high standard.
We call on Newcastle City Council to reverse this decision and believe that this is the only way to maintain the current high standard of these facilities.
1. Endorses the document titled The Whiteley Sculpture and deplores that the reputations of so many people have been damaged in this matter.
2. Considers that the only way in which this matter can be resolved is by the Commissioner of taxation initiating an investigation of the transaction and making the result public.
3. Resolves that the document be forwarded to the commissioner of taxation with the request that an investigation be commenced, as a matter of urgency, to determine whether this transaction is in breach of the appropriate tax rules and whether the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation has acted outside its trust deed.
4. Ask that the MHR for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon, be provided with these documents and resolutions and requested to ask the Commissioner to expedite this investigation.
5. Calls on Newcastle City Council to make public the commissioning briefs and reports (including PWC) that have been involved in this matter.
That this meeting considers Black Totem II to be an outstanding work and is extremely grateful that it is now located in Newcastle. We express appreciation to Wendy Whiteley for her generosity in donating the sculpture and on behalf of our community express our disappointment that some have brought her generosity into question.
The meeting was organised by a group of Novocastrians who have become extremely distressed by the actions of the Newcastle City Council towards its major cultural assets of the Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle Museum and the Civic Theatre. The meeting was chaired by Felicity Biggins, a well known and respected member of our community.
The organisers believe the new structure for the management of these assets is unworkable and will lead to their permanent long term impairment.
The agenda for the meeting included:
• an opportunity for people to express their views and experiences with these facilities and their staff
• an expression of appreciation for the work of Ron Ramsey, Judy Jaeger and the Art Gallery Foundation
• an accurate background to the Newcastle Art Gallery, Foundation and the Cultural Gifts Program, and an outline of what has occurred regarding the Whiteley sculpture
• an expression of appreciation to Wendy Whiteley
The cultural facilities in Newcastle, particularly the Art Gallery, have very strong community support and it is important that there was an opportunity to express this.
The committee consists of Allan Morris, Cathy Tate, Dawn Mullane, Linda Drummond, Bruce Wilson.
You can show your support by signing the new petition on change.org: