Editorial – Di Watson

I love the thrill of the unknown – what will that strange whirlwind of time and chance bring me this month to fill the pages of Brisbane Circle? Who will I meet and what will they tell me?

Then Suzanne Goodchild rang the office to place an ad in Brisbane Circle for The Henderson Gallery, in Earnest Street South Brisbane. The text she sent said the owners of the new gallery were – a practising artist and Wiradjuri, Robert Henderson – corporate renegade Suzanne Goodchild – and lifer and practicing artist – Wayne Weaver.

Wow, Dear Reader, I had to know more. We needed extra photos for the ad so, with my trusty camera, I popped over the take a look. The Henderson Gallery was much more than just an art gallery. It was a whole building with many rooms designed for many activities. There was a snazzy coffee shop with great coffee and an ambiance of community.

I met Suzanne Goodchild, an agent of change and dynamic business woman, who had put her motivational speaker and corporate strategist business on the back-burner whilst she established the Gallery.

Wayne Weaver was absent but I later learnt he was sent to prison in 1984 and spent his time developing his own art as well as encouraging the artistic talent of his fellow inmates by using art as therapy.

Armed with a BA in Fine Arts he has been teaching art since the early days of his lengthy incarceration.

Following his parole in January 2000, he worked with troubled young people in a counselling and mentoring role.

Wayne’s work is unique. A curator from the Louvre in Paris tried to paint him as a surrealist painter … a tag he has resisted ever since. Wayne’s current work is curated at The Henderson Gallery where he teaches and develops young, emerging and First Nations artists.
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Bris Circle

Recently, anyone who’s innocuously inquired ‘what’ve you been up to’ lost a good chunk of time to my episodic, meandering, tangential, forgot what the question was in the first place replies.

Poor things. Perhaps a good thing then that I’ve agreed to throw a column together here on a monthly basis. We’ve (Suzanne, Wayne and I) been peddle to the metal since signing the lease on what is now The Henderson. We opened 3.5 weeks after we signed up, which was a bit hectic. I was vacuuming up the electrical offcuts from installing the final lighting in the main gallery space at 4pm for a 6:30pm start on our opening night.

Since then we’ve happily been running at 11/10ths to attend to the experience of our place for our customers, and fine tuning the set up of our services, and scheduling servicing of our ever growing client base.

We’re running ongoing art classes on site, brewing coffee that continues to draw 5star feedback (quite a few from visiting Melbournians). I’ve been working with First Nations prisoners who are artists (Amazing artists) for an upcoming major exhibition, working with schools on art appreciation, culture and skill development, running short programs for young ones in youth detention, (again with a view to producing work for exhibitions), hanging and curating our first external artist exhibition for emerging artist Cameron Seymour, signing artists, creating exhibition programs, applying for food licenses so we can do breakfasts to go with our coffee, hosting charity art auctions, and fund raisers, the list goes on. That’s not counting all of what Suzanne, Wayne and Jade have been doing aside from their parts in all the above.
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