letter to the editor july 6th 2017 (unpublished)

Although it is tempting to believe that the location of Anderson House limits its audience as an attraction/art gallery, this is an over simplification of the process of audience development. Anderson Park Art Gallery was a destination attraction as many other art galleries in the world are. While it is true that those without transport may not have access to such attractions, moving to a more central location does not automatically equal greater accessibility/inclusion. Anderson Park, for example, attracted a particular audience who were interested in the house as a historic home, the exhibitions and or the grounds. It is arguable, for example, that the exhibitions were secondary for many visitors to the house/park. This would be consistent with recent international surveys on museum visitation in which the building as an attraction was a significant factor for many in choosing to visit. Anderson Park Art Gallery, in its previous form, had an established audience base created over the last 50 years. Major changes in the vision and ethos of an organisation like Anderson Park Art Gallery inevitably contributes to the breaking down of the social scenes and therefore the visitation that supported it. Rebuilding these social scenes around a new vision is more about relevance than location. A new building in the CBD with an art collection displayed does not equal relevance. For this reason regardless of location community relevance should be central to discussions/decision-making.