North Queensland’s oldest gallery is marking its 40th birthday with the new exhibition Journey Through Images.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the exhibition shared unique stories through the people, places and artworks of our community.

“Celebrating 40 years of Perc Tucker Regional Gallery is a huge milestone for us, marking us as North Queensland’s oldest art gallery,” Cr Hill said.

“The calibre of exhibitions that we host here at Perc Tucker is incredibly high, and it gives locals and visitors to the city the chance to engage with thought-provoking art right here in Townsville.

“We also have an extensive art collection, which Jonathan has drawn from to curate Journey Through Images. This is what the art collection is all about – collecting pieces of art that are significant to us here in Townsville, and bringing them into the public eye so that we can all enjoy free first-rate art.

“Our city is a thriving arts and culture hub – you don’t have to look far to see street art, festivals, and major events in Townsville.

“There’s always something to see and do across the city, and I’m sure that anyone interested in art will make the most of celebrating 40 years of Perc Tucker Regional Gallery this month.”

The exhibition is curated by Townsville City Galleries’ creative director Jonathan McBurnie and draws from Council’s 3500-piece public art collection.

Dr McBurnie said he was proud to bring this exhibition to life on the gallery’s 40th anniversary.

“This exhibition is bittersweet for me as it will be my last exhibition as Creative Director, an experience in which I have learned and enjoyed so much. It is drawn from our collection and each work has a story,” he said.

“Townsville is very lucky to be home to a rich artistic community, and we have done our best to put that front and centre.

“To reach 40 years is a major achievement, and I am incredibly grateful to my team for all of their hard work. This would not be possible without their commitment and enthusiasm.”

Ross Searle was the Townsville City Galleries creative director from 1986 through to 1996.

He said Perc Tucker Regional Gallery’s role in Townsville across its 40 years of operation had been invaluable for the recognition of the region’s cultural and artistic heritage.

“This gallery, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, has established a national reputation for the very fine work it’s done in introducing the work of the artists of North Queensland and surveying their work, and also drawing attention to the unique body of work that’s being produced here by the artists of North Queensland,” Mr Searle said.

“In 1986 I was astonished by the infrastructure here, the group of professional artists that were practicing here, the fact that there was a fully-functioning art school here producing very, very fine graduates with very mature cultural institutions here in Townsville.

“One of the continuums of the art scene here in Townsville is the good reputation of Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in bringing attention and focus to the art of Townsville and North Queensland.”

Mr Searle said he was glad to be able to look back on the impact the gallery had made on the community during his time at the helm.

“I think the really important thing that I established here was the relationship with the artists and the art practice of Townsville. That was really a major highlight in my contributions here as a director, to bring attention to the work of the creative artists here in Townsville,” he said.

“Public galleries are very important places in terms of their role of bringing together bodies of work in curating exhibitions and to bring particular foci to particular movements of art, a particular place, or it could be the art created within a region.”

 Journey Through Images runs from Friday September 3 until Sunday 28 September at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery. Entry is free.