Tracy Cooper-Lavery, Director, Gallery and Visual Arts at HOTA, Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast will be leaving HOTA after seven years in the role.
Tracy will be moving to Canberra and joining the National Gallery of Australia in the newly created position as Head, Sharing the National Collection.
Sharing the National Collection is the first major new initiative of the NGA since 1988 and is seen as a key objective of Arts Minister Burke’s National Cultural policy, Revive.
This is a wonderful opportunity for Tracy, putting her at the centre of new Federal Government sponsored initiatives seeking to make the NGA collections more available to regional galleries, including, of course, HOTA.
As exciting as this is for Tracy, it is absolutely a heartfelt loss for the City of Gold Coast, HOTA, and particularly the HOTA Gallery.
Over the past seven years with HOTA, Tracy has played a pivotal role in the development of the visual arts and supporting artists on the Gold Coast. She has taken the HOTA collection, now valued at over $37 million from two small, tucked away, gallery spaces, to a purpose built, 8,000 square meter building, complete with a collections store and conservation spaces.
Working with the City and HOTA, Tracy played a key role in the design, development and opening of Australia’s largest regional gallery. A triple A rated gallery that is spectacular inside and out and which to date has welcomed more than 375,000 visitors.
As the new Gallery progressed, Tracy assembled a world class, passionate and committed visual arts team who are well placed to build on her legacy. Her personal warmth, her knowledge of and passion for the arts has seen her develop close relationships with many of HOTA’s benefactors, donors, partners, and supporters, ensuring HOTA, continues to maintain close connections to our community and those who share our dreams for art and culture on the Gold Coast.
Working with her team, Tracy has delivered key exhibitions including:
• Let There Be Rock! and Signs of the Time – two of the final exhibitions in the former gallery.
• Solid Gold: Artists From Paradise – the inaugural exhibition in the new gallery featuring Gold Coast artists.
• Lyrical Landscapes: The Art of William Robinson, featuring The Rainforest, from the HOTA collection – a work which served as the cornerstone and inspiration for the architectural design of the new gallery.
• Pop Masters: Art from the Mugrabi Collection, New York – HOTA’s first international exhibition. An exhibition conceived, planned, and curated by Tracy and the gallery team working across international borders through COVID and delivered to national and international acclaim, paving the way for future international exhibitions at HOTA.
Tracy was instrumental in the commissioning of two major outdoor works to celebrate the launch of the HOTA Gallery in 2021. Double-sided avatar with blue figure by Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran and nerung ballun (Nerang River), freshwater, saltwater, the sculptural garden installation by Waanyi artist Judy Watson in partnership with Elisa Jane Carmichael and Libby Harward.
It is fitting that Tracy is moving to work with the NGA collections as she is passionate about the care and custodianship of art in our institutions. That passion has been evident at HOTA where Tracy has managed over 500 new acquisitions adding more than $5m value to the HOTA collection and led the development of HOTA’s collection framework and collection policies.
She devised the umbrella brand HOTA Collects, unifying the presentation of HOTA’s collection within the exhibition displays, Gallery handbook and the bespoke collection merchandise available in the HOTA shop.
HOTA will undertake a recruitment program to find a new Director, Gallery and Visual Arts with details to be released in the coming weeks. Bradley Vincent, Head of Curatorial and Programs at HOTA, has been appointed as Acting Director, Gallery and Visual Arts and will work to ensure a smooth transition over the coming month.
“Tracy has overseen the birth of a cultural beacon on the Gold Coast,” said City of Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate “Her passion and love for visual arts has driven HOTA to new heights.
“The City is sad to see Tracy depart, but thrilled to know we have such a great friend at the National Gallery. Perhaps now we can convince them to lend us Blue Poles! It would look great at the HOTA Gallery,” said Mr Tate.
“Tracy has overseen a massive growth in and appreciation of the Visual arts on the Gold Coast,” said Chair of HOTA, Home of the Arts, Jackie Trad. “She has taken HOTA’s Gallery from local to international. Through her passion and vision, she has delivered unique exhibitions celebrating the work of emerging and internationally acclaimed local artists.
“Most recently, through Pop Master: Art from the Mugrabi Collection, New York, she has delivered some of the biggest names in twentieth and twenty-first century art direct to the Gold Coast. I and the HOTA Board wish her well and know that she is leaving the Gallery in a strong position,” said Ms Trad.
“Tracy has spent seven years building a legacy for the future of visual arts at HOTA and on the Gold Coast,” said HOTA interim CEO, Mik Auckland. “Her passion for the artist is evident in everything she does, and her love of her work has seen her deliver an amazing array of exhibitions across her time with us.
“I know that HOTA will always hold a special place in Tracy’s heart and she in ours and I hope we have many occasions to welcome her back to HOTA in the coming years.”
Tracy Cooper-Lavery’s last day at HOTA will be Friday 23 June. For more information about HOTA, visit: www.hota.com.au for details.
Image: Tracy Cooper-Lavery – photo courtesy of HOTA x Risen Film