Check it out: Mount Morgan's new art gallery to boost town
KIRRA Swain didn't expect to be opening an art gallery in Mount Morgan when she arrived in the town nine years ago.
But that's exactly what she's accomplished.
On Friday, August 30 the Central Queensland artist will introduce the No. 7 Gallery when it officially opens with a display filled with works from local and regional artists.
Just about everything is ready to go, except for the floors, which are to be varnished and the store to be fitted with artworks to inspire.
Kirra is a woman of many talents, not only is she a full-time groundswoman at Mount Morgan State Central School, but also a devoted mother.
For the past 12 months she's worked at the school and recently decided she wanted to dig her hands deep in a project she could invest in - so she planned to enhance the artistic community within Mount Morgan.
Kirra has been in the "mummy" bubble for about nine years so she thought opening a new art gallery would be the perfect creative outlet for her.
"I've run a few workshops and a few community art projects so that was taking up all of my time that I wasn't getting to play art," she said.
"I figured if I had a gallery, I'm paying rent and I'm going to dedicate my time and practise my art and sharing it with other people."
With a vision to get the younger generation creative and enthusiastic about their community, Kirra said there'll be 12 weeks filled with kids' workshops and other activities once the gallery has opened.
These sessions will be held on Friday afternoons after school hours.
A vacant block next door will be transformed into a sculptural garden with totem poles, seating and fairy lights which will serve as a relaxing communal space for people before they wander in to check out the gallery.
"We've got the gallery on one side of the space (in the building) and on the other side will be a dedicated workshop area with retail towards the rear of the building," she said.
Kirra has discovered quite a number of local artists who'd come out of the woodwork once they heard of the upcoming gallery.
The first exhibition to be showcased is entitled Emerge which will feature works from local and regional artists across areas such as Yeppoon, Emu Park and Biloela who've created pottery, sculptures and paintings.
Look out for a handful of items made by Kirra to be exhibited too.
"People have interpreted Emerge in a botanical sense, a personal growth sense and ocean-inspired ideas," she said.
"We'll be continuing the workshops which were brought up by Rockhampton Regional Gallery, they're supporting us over the next few months which we're grateful for.
"Rockhampton Regional Council have been very supportive, everyone seems to be excited for it to be brought to Mount Morgan."
Kirra said her local community was excited for the launch of the gallery, and volunteers had helped in the construction process.
The No. 7 Gallery in Mount Morgan will be open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Kirra was always drawn to art and practised sculpture before she headed into construction which inspired her creativity.
"A lot of my art was used with metals and concrete," she said.
Both of Kirra's children have been raised in Mt Morgan, and she explained how they arrived in the town nestled among the hills.
"My ex-partner got work away at the mines, and this was a centralised location, property prices were good so we purchased after the first year we spent here," she said.
"We gave it 12 months, tested the waters and fell in love with the town."