The century-old Castlemaine Art Museum (CAM) will be closing its doors this August due to ongoing financial pressures, falling revenue and rising maintenance costs.
The Board of the Castlemaine Art Gallery announced last Friday that the gallery would undergo a temporary closure while directors seek to consolidate the museum’s financial standing and to create a sustainable business model.
Citing low revenue from decreased fundraising, ticket sales and gift shop purchases, alongside the rising costs of maintaining a heritage-listed art-deco building, the Board outlined a number of challenges it faced, leading to the decision to close.
Jan Savage, Chair of Castlemaine Art Festival Board, said that the future for CAM depended on having “stable, sufficient and recurrent funding”.
As an independent gallery, CAM receives some government assistance from Mount Alexander Shire Council and Creative Victoria, and relies upon philanthropic funding, which, while helpful for shorter term projects, is not always available for longer term needs.
Having been open since 1913, the gallery is an important part of the region’s art offerings and has played a significant role in Victoria’s cultural and artistic heritage. Jan Savage says, the community has expressed “surprise and shock, disappointment, sadness and anger. Overall, I think people are saying this is really awful, what can we do, how can we help…we want the gallery to stay open.”
During the closure the museum will function as a site to store historical artworks and collections, with the hope that CAM will be able to open its doors for specific, short-term events over the next two years.