Lake Russell gallery future in doubt
Director and owner Kay Doyle says the gallery will be unaffected by the liquidation of her Sydney business and will continue business a usual.
But events at the iconic gallery have sent shivers through the Coffs Coast art community.
The gallery's manager Terri Butterworth resigned on Monday over concerns about its management, especially over the treatment of work consigned to the gallery by artists, many of whom survive on very low incomes.
A number of artists are threatening legal action on overdue payments.
Ms Doyle said she would be writing to all the artists exhibiting through the gallery and all of them would receive their money.
She said she expected the sale of the gallery to a new owner to be concluded within a few months, allowing her to pay all the artists out of the proceeds of the sale.
She said meanwhile Lake Russell would open and operate as usual.
Ms Doyle, a Sydney-based businesswoman and educational consultant, is a director of Tezoni Pty Ltd, which operates two Sydney child care centres.
She is also a director of Lake Russell Gallery Pty Ltd, which operates Lake Russell Gallery and its associated bed and breakfast.
Price Waterhouse Cooper are the liquidators for Tezoni Pty Ltd, which was placed under external administration in January.
Ms Doyle said this process did not affect Lake Russell Gallery.
Kay Doyle bought the gallery about five years ago from its founder, Jeanette Ransom, who built the gallery into the region's leading contemporary art space.
The Moonee art gallery also won an architecture award for its designer, Doug Ransom.
Painter Joanna Burgler, who has been exhibiting at the gallery for almost 20 years and is now trying to recover $2200.
"I'm pretty upset about it," she said.
Former manager Terri Butterworth, herself a painter, said she had quit after becoming too upset and worried about the situation to continue opening the doors.
"(Ms Doyle's) commercial policies placed me in an unacceptable situation and seriously compromised my reputation and standing in the arts community," Mrs Butterworth said.
She said she would be happy to return if the gallery was sold.