It somehow seemed appropriate that on a perfect Thursday morning in late July 2011, I should interview Andrea Hope, a lady who is truly “living her dream.” After many years of dedication to the Australian Public Sector, Andrea decided to semi retire in 2010 to follow her .
Over the past 5 to 10 years Andrea has developed a great appreciation, or should that be love, of art. She has visited galleries throughout the UK, France and Italy building an impressive collection of French and Italian art works. Although she has a great love of the French and Italian works, Andrea also has a particular interest in Australian modern art stretching back to the 1920s and earlier.
Andrea is a lady who has had a very interesting and varied life. She has certainly packed more into her working life than the average person. Growing up in Cootamundra NSW, Andrea moved to Canberra when she was first married. After having 2 children and studying, she took on an HR role in the Public Sector commencing in the Bureau of Statistics. Using her degree in Professional Writing, she trained staff in illawarra business Writing, moved into Supervision and Management training and then worked more broadly across other areas of Organisational Development.
From there, Andrea worked for the Health Insurance Commission from the mid 1980s until 2000. Amongst other things she introduced competency based training for all customer service staff while it was still a new concept, introduced the first staff survey, and a performance management system for all 5,000 staff.
In 2001, Andrea changed careers for a short period. She had started framing pictures taken of the family property in Cootamundra and the love of this ability to be creative led her to purchase a picture framing business in Nowra. However, she sold the business when she realized that it was not earning enough for her and returned to Canberra to take on Consultancy work with the Australian Quarantine Service. She implemented a Performance Management System in 6 weeks and then was offered another project in the operational area of AQIS.
Andrea then moved into the role of Deputy Director of Australian National University where she had the opportunity to gain broad exposure to art through the College of Arts, and to attend a number of art appreciation programs. During this time she also worked for the Deputy Vice Chancellor in the area of higher education. She then moved to the Australian Customs Service as the National Staffing Manager, before deciding to move into a cultural organization (the National Library) as she had by then decided to open a gallery when the opportunity arose. It was a lovely way to end her career in the Public Sector, she said.
Surprisingly, Andrea also found time to raise two sons, complete tertiary studies in Professional Writing, Human Resources, Counseling, illawarra business Management and Museum Studies. She has also recently completed an Art Appreciation Course through the Museum of Modern Art in New York (on line) and spent lots of time travelling overseas where her passion for art was nurtured. She told me that she is also still enjoying mentoring managers in the public sector in Canberra.
In November 2010, after spending months visiting towns throughout the NSW South Coast, Andrea settled on Kiama as the ideal place to open her Gallery. She is very impressed with the local artists, some of whom are multi award winners, and their quality of work. The positioning is great for her as she has family in Canberra and Sydney. Since moving to Kiama, Andrea has also joined the committee of the Kiama Art Society.
Many of Andrea’s French and Italian collection, as well as some outstanding local works, can be viewed and purchased from her gallery in Terralong Street Kiama at very affordable prices. She will also frame your artworks, photos, lithographs and prints. Andrea has a clear understanding of how framing supports artworks and she also conducts Art Appreciation Classes.
This was a surprising and rewarding interview. Andrea is a wonderfully engaging person with a genuine interest in art and people. I know little about art but I really enjoyed looking around the gallery and Andrea’s commentary. Drop in and say hello when you get the chance. You will really enjoy the experience.