Setting apart from the Pack

PACKSTERS: Pack Gallery Studio directors Paula Bannan and Karen Preston.
PACKSTERS: Pack Gallery Studio directors Paula Bannan and Karen Preston. Christian Morrow

SATURDAY morning is always busy at Pack Gallery Studio in Bangalow, with visitors and locals taking in the art or just catching up with the gallery's three directors Paula Bannan, Karen Preston and Christian Morrow.

All three are practising artists who share the studio out the back of what used to be the old hardware shop at 10 Station St.

Many are fascinated by the gallery's paint spattered hardwood floor, the result of spillages from the paint mixing bench that sat in Pack's part of the building for more than 50 years.

"We wanted to establish a gallery that was also a working artist's studio," director Karen Preston said.

"Some galleries can feel very clean and clinical. Our intention was to make this a friendly and accessible space for people who are just curious about the pictures through to connoisseurs and collectors.

Established four months ago, the gallery name is simply derived from the first letters of the owners names, - PAula, Christian and Karen but it's genesis was far more dramatic.

"As soon as we decided to open a gallery, we were asked to be a part of special edition of Better Homes and Gardens showcasing Bangalow as an arts destination," Karen said.

"With the help of our landlord we got the gallery ready in record time for the filming.

"But on the eve of our first official day of trade, we were broken into and a large number of pictures and ceramics were stolen, valued around $10,000 worth.

"It was very upsetting as many of the works taken were the first Christian and I had produced in the new space.

"Then just before we hosted our opening party, the police recovered many of the stolen items.

"It was a fantastic relief even though several of the artworks and ceramics were destroyed or lost."

In true Pack style the opening celebration was no ordinary gallery affair and featured a rock band, a hot dog van and a crowd of around 400 which packed the adjoining courtyard.

"We even managed to raise around $400 for the SHIFT Project with donations over the bar," Karen said.

Both Paula and Karen are highly regarded art educators and plans are afoot to offer painting and drawing tutorials and workshops.

Pack also shows a diverse group of works by other established and emerging artists.

With a combined 60 years experience as practitioners and gallerists, the Pack directors are happy to collaborate with architects, designers and collectors in the acquisition of quality artworks for specific projects or investment.

Topics:  bangalow ceramics christian morrow karen preston northern rivers art pack gallery studio paintings paula bannan shift project

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