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Art patron gifts $35-million collection to ga -

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LISA MILLAR: Who says Australians aren't generous? The art patron John Kaldor's gift of a
$35-million collection of works to the Art Gallery of New South Wales is the latest and most lavish
contribution.

And a quick study of some of Australia's smaller public galleries reveals they're enjoying their
own healthy flows of generous gifts, despite sometimes fierce competition.

Ashley Hall reports.

ASHLEY HALL: It's almost like stars lining up. The dean of the College of Fine Arts in Sydney,
Professor Ian Howard, says the settings are right for a surge in generous gifts to art galleries
and culture institutions.

IAN HOWARD: There's got to be kind of an economy out there that produces that discretionary money.
Second thing usually is there's got to be an incentive and a good tax regime obviously, you know,
provides recognition of the donation so that's important.

But the third one and the one that's kind of culturally more important is there's actually got to
be an awareness within the donor, the board of directors, the CEO or the individual, awareness
about investing in this, you know, cultural capital kind of issue. And I think those three things
have kind of come together in Sydney, in Australia over the last decade like never before.

ASHLEY HALL: Certainly the Art Gallery of New South Wales is enjoying the bounty. Yesterday, the
president of the Gallery's board of trustees, Steven Lowy, announced that the art patron John
Kaldor would donate his collection of 260 works, worth $35-million.

STEVEN LOWY: That is the most extraordinary single gift of works of art to this or indeed any
Australian public gallery.

(Applause)

ASHLEY HALL: Why did you choose the Art Gallery of New South Wales?

JOHN KALDOR: Because that's the premiere collecting institution in New South Wales. I grew up in
Sydney, it's the home, home of my children, and it was a logical choice.

ASHLEY HALL: John Kaldor says a number of overseas galleries were also interested in his
collection, but no other Australian galleries.

Professor Roger Benjamin says that's unusual. He's a former director of Sydney University's Power
Institute, which focuses on art and visual culture.

ROGER BENJAMIN: We do see from time to time competition within a city. Occasionally a major
collection is sought after and gifted interstate as it were, and that often creates a few bruised
noses in the arts scene.

ASHLEY HALL: In Orange in New South Wales, the Regional Art Gallery got its kickstart when the
former gallery director from Sydney, Mary Turner, donated her collection.

Alan Sisley is the gallery's director.

ALAN SISLEY: Since Mary realised that if they build an excellent facility then other donations
would be excellent, you know, to follow that.

ASHLEY HALL: But there's only a limited number of art collectors, so the competition between
galleries to get their attention can be tough.

ALAN SISLEY: The curators working in the cities try and steer the collectors towards their own
collections and sometimes they will tell them untrue things.

ASHLEY HALL: In Queensland, the Gold Coast City Art Gallery is also enjoying the prospect of a
bright future. The gallery manager is John Walsh.

JOHN WALSH: We here at the Gold Coast do very well.

ASHLEY HALL: And what do you put that success down to?

JOHN WALSH: I put most of it down to our incredible chairman, Patrick Corrigan, who is endlessly
encouraging others to make donations to us and donating art work to us as well himself.

ASHLEY HALL: Some galleries try to differentiate themselves by focusing on a particular style or
period of art. But they still need to attract donations.

Professor Roger Benjamin says the Kaldor family's gift to the New South Wales Art Gallery should
help them woo potential benefactors.

ROGER BENJAMIN: I think gifting to the nation is what's going to make Australia's art museums and
art galleries great.

LISA MILLAR: That's Professor Roger Benjamin, ending Ashley Hall's report.