The Power of Cultural Infrastructure: Bree Pickering on ‘Creating Spaces for Stronger Communities’


This event is now complete. If you want to revisit the talk, visit our Library, or subscribe to the MPavilion podcast via iTunes, Pocketcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts.


Watch more

In the lead up to all major cultural projects, the benefits of improved community identity, pride, social cohesion and even health and wellbeing are enthusiastically promoted. But can art museums really achieve all that? In regional Australia?

Bree Pickering has led Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) in the role of Director since 2016. Arriving just one year into the life of the museum presented Bree with both an opportunity and a challenge. First, to deliver on the hype and promise, second, to make it sustainable. In this presentation, Bree will share successes, bumps in the road, and insights from the early years of the museum’s operation. Now in its sixth year, MAMA has become well known for its innovative exhibition program, diverse and challenging public programs, and vibrant education centre. From successfully engaging with artists, to building local audiences, to running a sustainable business – Bree will share examples of the museum winning and losing as it experimented its way from being a regional art gallery to a world-class cultural experience.

Bree Pickering has been the Director of Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) since 2016. Leading the new museum since just after its establishment in 2015, Bree has shaped its identity, embedded it in the community, and prompted a rethinking about what a contemporary art museum can be in regional Australia.

Previously, Bree was Executive Director at Vox Populi, a long-running experimental art space in Philadelphia, Cultural Program Manager at the Embassy of Australia in Washington DC and Curator at Anna Schwartz Gallery in Sydney. Bree has supported artist projects in artist run and public spaces across Australia and in the United States.

As part of the ongoing Amplify program presented in partnership with RACV, we are proud to be working with Benalla Art Gallery to present a series of four talks by leaders in the sector exploring ‘The Power of Cultural Infrastructure’.

The talks follow the recent completion of a Feasibility Study and Business Case by Urban Enterprise into possible redevelopment of Benalla Art Gallery. The study assessed the cost benefit, and social and cultural outcomes of redevelopment. The study showed an opportunity to deliver favourably against a number of key objectives:

  1. Strengthen the Benalla Art Gallery and its role as a leading interpreter and communicator of Australia’s regional cultural heritage
  2. Strengthen Benalla and the High Country as an Arts and Cultural destination
  3. Strengthen community health, wellbeing and resilience
  4. Grow the local and regional economy
  5. Create lasting and memorable experiences
  6. Improve the storage, conservation and management of the collection
  7. Improve the long-term financial viability of the Gallery
  8. Activate the Lake and Botanical Gardens Precinct

Each presenter in this talk series explores real world achievements which resonate with these aspirational outcomes, and will provide guests with insight and inspiration in equal measure.

Wominjeka (Welcome). We acknowledge the people of the Eastern Kulin Nations as the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet. We pay our respects to the land, their ancestors and their elders—past, present and to the future.