Member of the MONA Foundation team to speak at Benalla Art Gallery

Expert tip: Nicole Durling will be speaking at the Benalla Art Gallery on January 30. Photo by Contributed

Benalla Art Gallery presents the second lecture in its series “The Power of Cultural Infrastructure” at the end of this month.

The lecture series, which began in December, is presented in partnership with RACV and MPavilion, and explores the real social, cultural and economic outcomes that come from investing in leading cultural organizations.

The January lecture will be presented by Nicole Durling, who in 2021 was appointed as the new Director of CRAFT – Melbourne’s leading center for contemporary craft and design.

The power of culture: the Benalla art gallery will this month host a lecture by the former director of MONA, Nicole Durling. Photo by contribution

Ms Durling had previously spent 15 years with MONA in Hobart.

She was a member of the foundation’s team, collaborating on building design, curatorial direction, branding and installation of the MONA collection in preparation for its opening in 2011.

Benalla Art Gallery director Eric Nash said it was another opportunity for the community to hear a leading voice in the sector and consider opportunities for the Pink City.

“It’s hard to believe MONA only opened its doors a little over a decade ago.” said Mr. Nash.

“It’s truly a cultural phenomenon – a museum experience that has compelled a wide audience beyond traditional arts enthusiasts to flock to Hobart.

“I am thrilled that our community will hear from one of the MONA Foundation team explaining how this success was achieved, as well as the exciting changes Nicole is now making to CRAFT, with whom the Benalla Art Gallery shares a close relationship, as we see it with our recent collaborative exhibition Temporal artifacts.”

This conference will specifically explore how galleries can be developed architecturally and programmatically not only to complement the surrounding environment, but also to positively engage a wider cross-section of their community.

Benalla Mayor Bernie Hearn said she was eager to hear a speaker of Durling’s caliber.

“Following December’s very well-received lecture by Katrina Sedgwick OAM, it’s wonderful to start the new year hearing from another esteemed speaker,” said Cr Hearn.

“Hosting conferences of this quality helps us envision an even more ambitious and engaging future for our gallery and community.

“This conference will be particularly interesting given the setting of our gallery between popular Lake Benalla and the Botanical Gardens.”

The conference will take place at the Ledger Gallery on Sunday, January 30 from 10:30 a.m.

Numbers are strictly limited. To secure your place, email

William E. Bennett