A Gift to the Cultural Sector
16 May 2018 at 10:18 am
The national cultural sector owes a huge debt of gratitude to philanthropists like John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel, writes National Museum of Australia director, Dr Mathew Trinca.
What makes great museums, galleries and theatres, is great people and the communities that they foster. These are as important as the buildings and collections that the institutions house.
The people extend beyond the institution’s walls – while they include our cherished day to day visitors, they also encompass the community we exemplify; those whose stories we share; and those who actively step up as advocates, supporting our vision to shape Australia’s culture and identity.
Increased support for the cultural sector from people within this community reflects the recent shift in the nation’s cultural institutions, to become more relevant and accessible to their audiences.
Institutions like the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, have achieved this by putting people at the centre of all we do.
Philanthropy in all its guises unites those with a shared vision: as a collective, philanthropists empower the cultural sector to reach its potential.
From the donor who contributes to an Annual Appeal to those who distribute major gifts – all have an impact and all are vital to the continued growth of this sector.
John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel have been prominent philanthropists for 40 years, donating over $100 million to a range of causes. Their arts engagement spans myriad activities and initiatives, from pure arts funding and support for capital projects, to building capacity of arts organisations, as well as supporting arts programs that aim to create positive social change.
They understand that institutions like the National Museum of Australia have never been more relevant nor more needed in our society than today.
Major gifts to the cultural sector from donors such as the Gandels create transformational change and positively impact society for generations to come.
The Gandels vision for the Defining Moments Digital Classroom is inspiring and the project – and indeed the National Museum – are all the better for this collaborative partnership that has at its heart, a commitment to taking the Australian story to the next generation and beyond.
This dynamic collaboration of public and philanthropic funds to bring great projects alive, is the model of the future.
The cultural sector reflects community sentiments and changes in numerous ways, including the artwork that hangs on gallery walls and the objects collected by museums. These evoke our past, reflect our present and speak to our future.
The cultural sector shows audiences what is possible: it educates, entertains and engages. It inspires us to reach greatness while also reminding us of our commonality.
Within this sector, it is the job of a national museum to advance those narratives in public understanding and to join people to the epic tale of this nation.
The National Museum of Australia encourages individuals to see our history and experience as something to be cherished, whether it be good, bad or indifferent. It adds something to the record of humanity, while connecting us to the life of others.
It is through the generosity of philanthropists like John and Pauline Gandel that the National Museum of Australia will continue its vital role of sharing our country’s rich and diverse stories with the world.
About the author: Dr Mathew Trinca is the National Museum of Australia director.