January 30, 2019
The Blackbutt Art Gallery will be celebrating its 17th birthday this year, and if the summer holiday season is anything to go by it should be a happy occasion.
The gallery, located next to the Blackbutt Bakery, has been enjoying good sales over the Christmas and New Year period.
Good sales in the run-up to Christmas isn’t necessarily a surprise. But good sales January – which is usually a quiet time for most local retailers – certainly is.
So what’s the secret?
“Passing trade,” gallery volunteer Bev Brown said.
“A lot of people pass through Blackbutt on their way to things elsewhere, and we get a lot of sales from that.
“We also get a lot of sales from visitors who come to Blackbutt along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.
“Just recently, a lovely lady from Hervey Bay who was cycling the Trail came in and bought a big picture we had in the gallery.
“It was too big to carry on her bike, so we held it for her until she could come back later in her car and pick it up.”
Bev said being located next to the Blackbutt Bakery didn’t hurt, either: “The Bakery gets a lot of Rail Trail visitors all year round.”
The gallery is run by a not-for-profit community arts group and currently displays the works of 18 South Burnett artists and craftspeople.
“We have award winners in acrylics, oils and watercolours as well as glass art, photography, Aboriginal art, pottery, leatherwork, lino-art, fine woodwork, picture books, cartoons, quilts, ceramics and even music CDs by one member and her husband,” Bev said.
“It’s a smorgasbord of country culture and the variety is amazing – people just love to come in and browse.”
Bev said small items were particularly popular with some visitors because they were inexpensive and easy to transport.
“Over time we’ve found what things sell well and what don’t, and we’ve gradually changed our mix so we’re carrying the items people really want,” she said.
“This is good for our artists as well as our customers, and our guestbook is full of really positive comments.”
The gallery always welcomes new members, and in recent years a number of “tree changers” who’ve moved to Blackbutt have joined the group.
Some now sell their own artworks through the gallery, while others volunteer to help run the shop and socialise with visitors.
“Anyone who’d like to find out more can just drop in any day for a chat, or follow our Facebook page“, Bev said.
[Photos: Blackbutt Art Gallery]