Tyger Gallery is the Yass Valley’s newest art gallery, which will open its first exhibition, Bryter, this week with opening night on Thursday, March 23rd between 6pm and 9pm, click to register to attend and then running  Friday March 24th – Monday, April 24th.

Tyger is a stunning commercial art gallery with a difference. As a social enterprise, it has committed to giving at least 50 per cent of its profits to local charities and has a mission to help support and enhance the community and build the region’s thriving arts community. 

Located prominently in the front of the Memorial Hall building on Comur Street, Tyger is set to become a must-visit location for tourists and art lovers alike.

Tyger has brought new life to Yass’ old youth centre, with a vacant and derelict site now lovingly transformed.

Kirsty Bundfield with lights during the transformation into Tyger Gallery

Spread over three rooms, attendees will be treated to breathtaking and beautiful works from emerging and established artists. 

Tyger Gallery was conceived by Yass local Martyn Pearce, who is a passionate advocate and supporter of the arts, and an avid art collector.

The Times spoke to Martyn prior to Tyger Gallery’s official opening. 

“Tyger was born because I wanted to do something which supports the region’s artistic community and also gives Yass something which benefits the community,” Pearce said.

Featuring artist Jenny Blake

“This is a passion project for me. I’m an avid art collector and appreciate the way that art enhances and supports society’s well-being. 

“I pondered to myself that I could keep buying art for my house and adding to my collection which is beautiful and makes me very happy, but the only people that are able to see it are me and the people who come over to my house. 

“I wondered if there was a more lasting contribution that I could make, that would support more artists than just those whose work I buy and sell. That’s kind of the genesis for Tyger.”

Martyn also explained the process of how he acquired a space to lease at the Memorial Hall for at least the next two years. 

“Yass Valley Council owns a number of buildings in and around town which had potential for an art gallery. So, I reached out to them to see if any of their vacant space could be made available,” Pearce continued.

“Late last year the Council ran an EOI process for two spaces in the Memorial Hall, looking for businesses that would enhance and activate that part of town.

“I’m thankful Council selected Tyger’s EOI, and hugely grateful for the incredible support that Council has shown in setting up Tyger.”

 Martyn, who has a full-time job working in communications also produces podcasts. 

Featuring artist Jeffree Skewes

With a spark for art burning so bright, as well as a mission to give life to his hometown and connect the local community with creative talent, Martyn has spent every spare minute outside of his busy job turning Tyger from dream to reality. 

“I picked up the keys to the building just before Christmas, and my amazing group of friends and I have spent all my evenings and weekends since restoring and transforming the old youth centre, and creating Tyger. It has been a labour of love.

“We are incredibly proud of what we’ve done, deeply thankful for the support we’ve had from the community, excited about the incredible art and artists we’re working with and can’t wait to throw open our doors and welcome people.” 

Tyger Gallery’s first exhibition, Bryter, has its opening night next Thursday, March 23rd, between 6pm and 9pm.

Its opening group show features ten outstanding artists from the Southern Tablelands and beyond, including Lucy Hersey, Emmaleen Diaz, Sara Phemister, Jeffree Skewes, Benjamin Gallagher, Lani Shea-An, Jenny Blake, Jenny Baird, Natalie Childs, and Carla Jackett.

Jenny Blake told The Times she was excited about the opportunity that the Yass’ newest art gallery will provide the community.

“The new space is looking so fabulous. It’s great to see unused council space for something that’s really going to enhance the community and also attract visitors to Yass,” Blake said. 

“Martyn has done this on his own back. He has put his own time and money into it, but he’s also developed a social enterprise.

“It’s great for me being an artist, you know, having another opportunity to hang my work in a public space.

“There’re ten artists for the first exhibition and we’ve all got four or six paintings. There could be anything up to 60 paintings being hung, with a whole diversity of work.

“We’ve got abstract landscape, realism, still life, and completely different styles.”

The art reflects on a hope and optimism for the future, and days that are Bryter than dark times of the past. 

“Bryter is about the things that sustain us and keep us going, the steadying stuff in unsteady times, and the hope we all hold that encourages us to keep putting one foot in front of the other,” Pearce said.

“Everyone at Tyger is excited about the incredible works in Bryter. It’s a gloriously eclectic mix of styles and influences, and genuinely interesting to see how the artists have interpreted the brief of the show. It’s a must-see exhibition of outstanding artists – many of whom are from Canberra.”

If you would like to attend Bryter’s opening night, register here: https://www.tygergallery.com.au/exhibition

Photo at top: Hannah Cole

Tim Warren