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GCS Gallery Abbotsleigh

About the Grace Cossington Smith Gallery

​​​The Grace Cossington Smith Gallery is a not-for-profit program run by Abbotsleigh, an Anglican pre K-12 Day and Boarding School for girls.

Our goal is to provide a resource for teaching and lifelong learning that engages and inspires Abbotsleigh and its communities through compelling programming. The Grace Cossington Smith Gallery is committed to serving the public through free admission and an education program that reaches diverse audiences, including teachers, students from Pre-Kindergarten through Year 12, and adults.

The Grace Cossington Smith Gallery is located on the campus of Abbotsleigh, on the Pacific Highway at Wahroonga, NSW.

The Grace Cossington Smith Gallery and Abbotsleigh acknowledge the Guringai people as the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we are inspired by art, learn and teach.

Mission statement

The Grace Cossington Smith Gallery is a not-for-profit program inspiring Abbotsleigh students and our community to engage, create and appreciate the culture and richness of art. Exhibitions enable dynamic learning experiences in a wide range of subjects and topics.

Vision

Our vision is to provide meaningful experiences and encounters through the visual arts. We aim for creativity, inquiry and imagination in our programing, to contribute to the intellectual life of the region, and to serve the needs of Abbotsleigh students and a diverse general public. 

History

Grace Cossington Smith (1892-1984)

Marian Clarke, Abbotsleigh's artistic and enterprising founding Headmistress valued an education in all aspects of life, not merely the academic. In her mind, an academic life in isolation without the sporting and artistic spheres did not create a well-rounded education and Miss Clarke sought to create this at Abbotsleigh, which was quite unusual at the time.

When Grace Cossington Smith attended Abbotsleigh (c1908-c1910), Miss Clarke had engaged the services of specialist teachers, among whom were three respected artists – Eirene Mort, Albert Collins and Alfred Coffey. Due to this, Grace found an unexpected artistic heritage at Abbotsleigh and a keen supporter in Miss Clarke.

Grace began drawing at Abbotsleigh but in 1909 she also studied drawing with Antonio Dattilo-Rubbo and in 1914 she started painting. Her oil painting The Sock Knitter,1915, in the Art Gallery of NSW, is considered a significant  modernist artwork and was the first work that she exhibited. The Abbotsleigh cape can be seen hanging on the chair behind the subject, Grace's sister Madge.

Grace is regarded as one of Australia's foremost modernist artists and she was a brilliant colourist. In a 1965 interview she stated, 'My chief interest, I think, has always been colour, but not crude flat colour, it must be colour within colour, it has to shine; light must be in it, it is no good having heavy, dead colour.'

Grace lived most of her life in her family home at Turramurra and her paintings of interiors and the Sydney Harbour Bridge have become iconic images in Australian art.

Vindin House

Originally known as Noris Laurin, Vindin House was built in October 1905 by the architect Herbert Samuel Thompson, after the land was purchased in March that year by Mr Harris Adam Curry and his wife, Esther. Harris was the President of the Land Appeal Court of NSW. 

After Curry's death in 1922, the estate passed to his wife Esther, who subsequently sold it in 1926 to Alice and Frank Hambridge. The Hambridges remained in residence until 1929, after which it was sold to Abbotsleigh for use as a boarding house.

Noris Laurin was officially renamed Vindin House in honour of Abbotsleigh's first Chairman of Council 1924-1928, Walter Mullins Vindin. The Council minutes at the time said the name was 'in grateful appreciation of the splendid service rendered to the school.' Mr Vindin had died in 1928 whilst holding the position of Chairman.

Vindin House remained true to its original purpose as a boarding house until the boarders moved out in 2012, with the building being prepared for its next phase of life as an art gallery.

Staff

Director:  Mary Faith, MMuseumSt, DipArt(Ed), (Head of Visual Arts Department and teacher at Abbotsleigh 1980-2013)

Gallery Coordinator: Lisa Jones, MVArts,  MFA, BA, Teach Cert

Gallery Assistant: Stuart Smith, BA, Teach Cert


Advisory committee:

Janet Laurence, artist

Annette Mauer, Exhibition consultant and education adviser

Maisy Stapleton, formerly the Deputy Director of National Trust NSW, the inaugural CEO of Museums and Galleries NSW and also led Regional Arts NSW. She is now a consultant and arts broadcaster on community radio

Yvette Vignando, Abbotsleigh's Director of Development


Venue hire and Exhibition Proposals

If you are interested in proposing exhibitions for the gallery, hiring the main gallery for a function or the workshop space for classes and would like a quote, please call +61 2 9473 7878 or email gcsgallery@abbotsleigh.nsw.edu.au​.

959-006.jpg 

Grace Cossington Smith, 1972
Walter Mullins Vindin, Abbotsleigh's first Chairman of Council 1924-1928
Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 10-5 Sat 9-4
Sunday closed
Visit us:
Gate 7, 1666 Pacific Highway
Wahroonga NSW 2076
Contact us:
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