Q&A with Lone Goat Gallerist Andrew McDonald
When did you move to Byron Bay? Or have you always been here ..?
I am from Melbourne, arriving in 2012 for some R&R and surfing. I was a city rat, so pasty from alleyway and nightclub living that my pallor blinded people the first time I went to the Pass.
In regards to the arts scene, what drew you to Byron Bay?
I exhibited Paul McNeil (Mambo, Art Park, Sea), at my Melbourne gallery Until Never. Via Paul I met other Byron creators from the Sea Surf posse like Dain Thomas, Johnny Abegg, Matt Yeates. When Paul started Art Park with Craig Rochfort, I would often visit Byron when they had artists in residence. The Art Park residencies, exhibitions, publications and gang that evolved around that scene, is the tip of the iceberg that is my introduction to arts in the Shire. Also, you know, Nat, George, Bob! Mysterious types like Kidman, Derek Hynd. Ryan Heywood! Shire surf art culture continues to have some very purple patches.
Please tell us about Lone Goat Gallery.
Lone Goat Gallery aims to be the premier community art space in the Shire with the purpose of exhibiting and celebrating the work of both established and emerging artists from the Byron region and beyond. The gallery was established within the brand-new Byron Bay Library building in 2013 after enthusiastic lobbying by artists and members of the local community. Lone Goat is supported by Byron Shire Council and community philanthropists, and operates under the Council’s 355 Committee structure with myself as Gallery Coordinator, a Board of Management which includes volunteer community members, a Byron Shire Councillor and an ex-officio Council representative, and over 30 volunteers.
How do you plan to develop/evolve the Gallery under your direction?
Beginning in July 2017 Lone Goat will roll out a new identity and website with a complete archive of exhibitions and all new online application system. Beginning in August the gallery will move from ad-hoc programming to a monthly exhibition program and a call out for applications for 2018. I would like to develop a residency program in collaboration with partners. I will emphasise identifying and developing emerging artists, and providing professional development opportunities. Increasing artists talks, workshops. I would like Lone Goat to become a catalytic space, a gallery for local artists to hone their professional chops and test new ideas
Why is something like Lone Goat important for a community?
It is my direct experience that strong, original arts and culture is not only good for the health of a community, but that it leads to widespread economic and social benefits. Anyone who has visited Tasmania before and after the founding of MONA has seen a prime example of the impact a cultural institution can have on community and economy. I see artists as philosophical and existential scientists – conducting difficult experiments that challenge society to reflect and grow, Artists need galleries to show the results of the experiments to the wider community. Lone Goat is essential in the Byron Shire for cultivating and assisting artists, providing a springboard and testing ground.