Thirty years of the Manning Entertainment Centre and Manning Regional Art Gallery

Celebrations: The Manning Entertainment Centre and Manning Regional Art Gallery are marking 30 years in Taree this year.
Celebrations: The Manning Entertainment Centre and Manning Regional Art Gallery are marking 30 years in Taree this year.

It's been 30 years since a dedicated community group lobbied and fundraised hard to create the magnificent Manning Entertainment Centre, transforming the Manning's cultural and performance landscape.

The anniversary will be celebrated in style with a special edition combined 2018 program.

Twelve months of events will be held at both the MEC and the Manning Regional Art Gallery (which was originally housed at the MEC), and everyone in the community is invited to experience them!

The 2018 joint program booklet has been published and offers something for everyone at both venues.

Acting manager of the MEC Chris Tippett sees the combined brochure as a great way to develop audiences for both venues.

“What a fantastic opportunity for collaboration between the Manning Regional Art Gallery and the Manning Entertainment Centre in our 30th year,” he said. “It feels like we’ve come full circle, and by combining in this way, we’ll reach more patrons than ever before.”

It’s hoped that the dual format of the brochure will encourage MEC patrons to dip a toe into the events at the gallery, and conversely lure art lovers to sample more live entertainment on stage. Brochures are available at the Manning Regional Art Gallery and the Manning Entertainment Centre.

If you haven’t visited for a while, it's time to show your love for your very own regional performance and exhibition spaces.

From the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow to Taree Arts Council's performance of Les Misérables, there's something for everyone. Upcoming children's shows include The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and Roald Dahl's 'George's Marvellous Medicine'.

Right now at the gallery, don’t miss Jocelyn Maughan's lifetime observances of beachside humanity at our very own Black Head Beach and Patonga, or Jo Ernst's fascinating look at the work of the artist's life models.

And coming up soon, a voyeuristic peek at the studio spaces of 16 artists from across the MidCoast, the HSC Art Express exhibition, and the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize - plus much, much more!

There will be special celebrations to celebrate the 30th birthday, so view the 2018 program booklet on either website at www.theMEC.com.au or www.manningregionalartgallery.com.au or pop into the MEC on Manning River Drive, or the Gallery at Macquarie Street, Taree for a 2018 30th celebration program booklet.

In 1988, the newly completed MEC building housed the Manning Regional Art Gallery, but the regional demand for regional visual art experiences soon led to a dedicated, more spacious premises on Macquarie Street - which has since also been extended to create a modern gallery space.

"It was a massive undertaking by our community in the 1970s and 1980s to raise an enormous amount of money and lobby so hard for funding to achieve the construction of a dedicated cultural arts space in Taree," said MidCoast Council's director of Community Spaces and Services Paul De Szell.

The group secured a NSW Bicentennial Council grant of $500,000, a further special government grant for the arts for part of the internal fit-out, and fundraised about half of the total cost for the facility - which was over $1 million.

"The ongoing legacy of their work has been to provide cultural enrichment to the community via exposure to national and international performing and visual arts," adds Paul.