What we know today as the Friends of The Arts Centre Gold Coast, has in fact, had a long germination period that started as far back as 1968-69 with a desire by a small group of like-minded individuals to create a ‘Civic Centre and Art Gallery’ on the Gold Coast.
The original group consisted of Joe and Gerda Pinter, Bruce Duncan and Malcolm Cummings and are considered by many who were also involved in those early days as the ‘Founding Four’.
In fact, the Gold Coast Bulletin in December 1968 quoted Mr A.J. Creedy, Queensland’s New Director of Cultural Activities as saying – “Gold Coast has [the] potential for a Cultural City”. He suggested that diverse groups that had an interest in theatre and the arts should all band together and establish a Gold Coast Cultural Centre Committee to work together with Council and the Government to fulfil the aspirations for a ‘Civic Centre and Art Gallery’!
In January 1969, a public meeting was held to further these objectives and the formation of a Cultural Association was set in motion which would result in its incorporation in 1971 as the Cultural Centre Association. In April 1969, council agreed to support in principle the development of the Cultural Centre and Ald Hilary Bloyce was appointed to the proposed committee.
Years of hard lobbying by members of the association and other community figures pushed the project along so that by 1975 Joe Pinter in his Presidents Report stated that a definite area had been set aside for the Cultural Centre at Evandale.
By 1976 the council had initiated a Cultural Centre steering committee and the well known artist, Max Boyd took over as President of the Cultural Centre Association.
By 1979 a new council had been elected and in December of that year, the Gold Coast City Council gave it’s formal approval for the project.
The Mayor, Keith Hunt, stated:
In 1981 a development occurred which changed the focus of the Cultural Centre Association. At the instigation of the Mayor, a Cultural Centre Committee was formed whose purpose it was not only to promote interest in the new centre, but also to raise funds. Bruce Duncan was its Chairman and about thirty people formed its nucleus, including Ruth Lyons, who initiated the Ceramic Art Award in 1982.
The Committee and the Association formally merged in 1982 as the Community Arts Centre Association, with Max Boyd as President, Bruce Duncan and Hilary Bloyce as Vice-Presidents. Funding of over $60,000 for this new organization was very generously given by Mr Bruce Duncan on the understanding that these funds would be used for specific purposes connected with the furbishing of the Art Gallery, the purchase of pianos for the Auditorium and for the overall provision of the necessary equipment pertinent to a first class cultural and entertainment centre. This group would continue until August in 1986 when it became ‘Friends of the Community Arts Centre’ and eventually ‘Friends of the Gold Coast Art Centre’.
And so, through a long and sometimes tortuous process, the ‘Friends’ came into being due to the efforts of many dedicated and generous people. We continue to provide support to The Arts Centre Gold Coast and through the efforts of our members, maintain the momentum to advance the arts on the Gold Coast.