Save our museum! Group forms to rally support for the Castlemaine Art Museum

Cartoonist Leslie Thornton envisages a repurposed Castlemaine Art Museum.

Cartoonist Leslie Thornton envisages a repurposed Castlemaine Art Museum.

A group called 'Save Our Castlemaine Art Museum' has been formed by concerned residents who want to prevent the museum from being forced to close.

In a shock announcement last week, the board of the museum reported the museum would have to be closed until March 2019 due to operational and financial challenges it faced.

Spokesperson for the newly formed group, Ann de Hugard, said she and a friend invited people to come along to a meeting last Thursday night and about 10 people attended.

"We created a Facebook page and overnight it gained 300 followers," Ms de Hugard said.

"It's a private page where friends can invite friends. We are concerned about the staff and we are upset that the news came so suddenly but ultimately we want to do what we can to help save the museum. Unfortunately until we hear from the board we are still in the dark but we hope to know more after the meeting (this) week."

Ms de Hugard said the group had been in touch with Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards who was supportive, but it was unclear at this state how things would proceed.

Ms Edwards told the Express that for her personally this was a sad situation.

"Personally I've been a longstanding supporter of the Castlemaine Art Museum and like the board and the community I want to see it survive and thrive," Ms Edwards said.

"But what needs to be made clear is this is not a state or local government-run organisation, it's an independent privately run organisation. The decision of the board at the time to be fiercely independent has not served them well."

"The government will still be offering expertise and assistance with the business case through Regional Development Victoria and Creative Victoria, but we are not in a position to offer financial assistance.

"I was as shocked and disappointed as everyone else was to hear the news about CAM."

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