From New York to Newcastle

Visitors to the IEU’s Wattle Street office can now enjoy two new art works courtesy of PDHPE teacher turned artist and gallery owner Maryanne Walmsley.

The long term IEU member has been teaching PDHPE at St Francis Xavier College in Newcastle for more than 25 years.

A few years ago she took two years off work to pursue her passion for art. After taking a postgraduate course in museums and collections at the Australian National University, she took herself to New York for a year where she gained work experience with two galleries and in interior design.

On returning to Newcastle, Maryanne decided to make her passion a reality.

“I found an old warehouse and converted it into a home and a gallery,” she said.

Studio 21 was born in December last year and the first exhibition showcased the work of St Francis Xavier College’s HSC art students.

“It was very exciting for the students because they got to show their work in a professional gallery and even sell some pieces.”

The gallery has continued to hold a number of successful exhibits, recently being part of the ‘winter art crawl’ with other local venues.

“The arts scene in Newcastle is very vibrant and supportive. It’s said there are more artists per head in Newcastle than anywhere else in Australia.”

IEU Assistant Secretary Mark Northam is a former colleague of Maryanne’s and he acquired two artworks for the IEU after attending an exhibition at the gallery.

Barn was taken at Maryanne’s daughter’s wedding at Orara Valley near Coffs Harbour and Gate was taken in the Hunter Valley.

“I enjoy working with black and white photography and unusual angles,” Maryanne said.