Warrnambool Art Gallery's director is stepping down after more than six years to take on a new role in Ballarat, but Vanessa Gerrans says she will always feel connected to the city.
Ms Gerrans will finish up at the end of April to take on the job as chief executive officer of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale.
She will lead the BIFB toward its 10th event and the opening of the National Centre for Photography next year.
Since late 2015, Ms Gerrans has transformed Warrnambool's gallery, its programs, events and significantly boosted audience engagement.
Under her tenure, the gallery gained museum accreditation, there was new infrastructure to conserve and store the art collection and a digitisation project.
There is also a feasibility study under way into the possibility of rebuilding a whole new gallery.
"Warrnambool is a wonderful place for realising ideas and I am inspired by how the community has embraced possibilities and helped us to make the gallery and all that it offers such an important part of the city," Ms Gerrans said.
"There is so much creativity and innovation in this region and though I am moving on to Ballarat, I will always have a connection to Warrnambool, and will continue to follow with great interest the evolution of the WAG."
Ms Gerrans gained in excess of $2.6 million in competitive funding for the gallery during her time, and boosted philanthropic support for projects, acquisition, and events.
This has made it possible to add significant works to the collection including Sam Jinks Unsettled Dogs, and develop events including the Wallawar Festival, and Tower Hill en Plein Air which was held for the first time in December last year.
She said growing philanthropic and government support were strong affirmations for the gallery and its role in the south-west.
"WAG's evolution has centred on inclusion, and this has created a number of highly successful shows and programs including, Haven (during the marriage plebiscite), and Girls are Full STEAM Ahead," she said.
"Ultimately this has led us to create the Maar Nation Gallery, as a dedicated cultural space and to develop programs like the highly acclaimed Ngatook Collective for young Aboriginal women.
"The Maar Nation Gallery is a significant achievement. It has been a wonderful journey working with the local Aboriginal community, employing a cultural engagement curator, and seeing the Maar Nation Gallery become a meeting place that seeds such a rich cultural program."
Ms Gerrans said the family learning centre had also been an important part of the gallery because it featured local writer Paul Jennings, looked at local ecosystems in Soggy Homes, and captivated children with immersive shows like the mythical hybrid Bull Cow.
"All these elements, and the synergy of our exhibition programs have made WAG a dynamic cultural production house, that is attracting attention and acclaim beyond this region," she said.
Ms Gerrans' depature comes just a month after former director and curator Murray Bowes retired from the gallery after almost 40 years.
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