Broken Hill’s art community is mourning the loss of Gary Corbett, the city’s Regional Art Gallery Director in the late 1980s until the end of the ‘90s, who passed away on Sunday after a battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Highly thought of in the national art community and with a special place in the hearts of many locals for his work in turning the Broken Hill City Art Gallery into a nationally recognised hub for the arts, Mr Corbett arrived in Broken Hill in 1980.
A History and English teacher, he became the education officer at the then Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery before spending more than a decade as director of the gallery between 1987 and 1999.
During his tenure he fostered strong relationships with local artists and opened his home to many nationally regarded artists, including George Gittoes and Tracey Moffatt when they came to the region.
“He just loved Broken Hill,” his wife Sue told the Barrier Truth.
“When he was still a teacher in the early ‘80s, there were a lot of teachers’ strikes over pay rates and things and there were these big gatherings down at Sturt Park. There’d be people up there having speeches and then we’d all vote on things and Gary would always yell out, Is that unanimous?” Sue laughed fondly.
The Corbett family moved from Broken Hill to Murwillumbah in 1999 when Mr Corbett became Director of the Tweed Art Gallery, another gallery he is credited with building up and taking to the next level.
Local artist Clark Barrett paid tribute to his friend and the work he did establishing the art gallery here in Broken Hill.
“When Gary became director of the gallery, he played a huge role in it becoming well respected and recognised in the national art community,” Mr Barrett told us.
Mr Corbett is survived by wife, Sue, daughter Hannah, and two grandsons. His son William passed away earlier this year.