Trentham gallery defies odds

Little Gallery artists Ri Van Veen, Rose Wilson, Helen Cottle and Kim Haughie.

Trentham’s artist-run Little Gallery is expanding and coming home to its original High Street premises after defying COVID lockdown odds that badly affected much of the arts industry.
Rose Wilson, one of the artists who helped found the gallery nine years ago, said the gallery was grateful for outstanding support of the town and local region, particularly during Melbourne’s long 2020 lockdown.
“COVID’s stressful year saw people embracing art in a different way, seeing art as a necessity and treating themselves after constant lockdowns and isolation,” she said.
“Many galleries featuring fine art were closed for up to five months, some commercial galleries have suffered greatly.”
Like many businesses, Little Gallery was forced to adapt and make do as even their workshops had ceased, so having a more online presence seemed to alleviate some of the stress of no income and the support of the locals was a godsend.
COVID’s threat was part of a potential double whammy for Little Gallery’s artists, as they were forced to move out of their established, quirky High Street premises in a former motor garage 18 months ago when that building closed for renovations.
The reno, which planned to retain the original facade, turned into a longer-than-expected complete rebuild when the old building’s foundations were found to be unstable.
“We were originally disappointed the old mechanics’ Dashwood garage facade couldn’t be saved, but are delighted the new structure blends into our quaint, historical little town’s streetscape – which is what the owners wanted,” Wilson said.
“We have the best of both worlds as inside it is beautifully designed with natural light streaming through its large windows from the north, just perfect for a gallery.”
An official re-opening planned for April 17 will see permanent LG artists Rose Wilson, Helen Cottle, Ri Van Veen and Kim Haughie joined by two new artists, Trentham painter Llael McDonald and Kyneton sculptor Larissa Gray.
Local consignment artists Ruby Wilson-Pierce, Sam Bloomfield, Dianne Longley, Liz Archer and Anneke Hoekstra will also have their work featured.
Renowned Australian figurative artist Graeme Drendel will be guest speaker at the opening.