Q&A with Garth Andersen, volunteer and exhibition guide

Published on 23 January 2024


Meet Garth Andersen. You may have seen Garth’s friendly smiling face around MAC yapang – he is one of our knowledgeable volunteers who ensure the art museum is an enjoyable and inviting experience for our visitors. 

Garth’s role at MAC yapang involves conducting guided exhibition tours, assisting with event set up and pack down, answering visitor questions, surveying visitors, helping staff with their duties, and occasional larrikinism, among many other things. 

We sat down with Garth to ask him more about his background, his love of art and his role at MAC yapang.  

Tell us a bit about your background and your career?

I lived my early life between the Central Coast and the North Coast.

My family relocated to Cessnock when I started high school, and after my teen years I lived in Weston, where I worked for the Commonwealth Bank.

My working career was varied, but I spent the majority of my work life in the Health Safety and Quality environment, principally in the newspaper industry working for Fairfax publishers.

Where did your love of art stem from? 

It was at Weston were my love of art started. I became involved with the Weston Art Show (now the Town of Murals Art Show) in the 1970s where I started my collection of paintings. 

Between my wife and I we own over 80 original paintings. Our house resembles an art gallery with very little space left, but there is always room for one more.

My wife has artistic talent and has encouraged me to paint, so I started doing lessons at MAC yapang. Over the years since then, we have formed an art group from these classes, and meet weekly at Coal Point.


How did you become a volunteer at MAC yapang?

Nearly two years ago I saw that Lake Macquarie City Council were looking for volunteers, and I thought it was a good way to give back to the community. I volunteer every Saturday morning in the front of house at MAC yapang and fill in at other times when I’m needed.

When the Archibald’s [2022 Archibald Prize Regional Tour] were coming to MAC yapang I decided to learn to do guiding for the exhibition, and I enjoyed it so much that I have continued to guide exhibitions. I undertake training with the MAC yapang team every second Wednesday morning to learn about the exhibitions and artists, and I conduct guided tours on Saturdays.

What do you like most about your role at MAC yapang?

Meeting people and making their experience rewarding. I enjoy working with lovely staff and volunteers. Learning about the exhibitions and passing this information on to visitors to enhance their visits is a highlight of being a volunteer.

What would you like to tell visitors who have never been to MAC yapang?

I would tell them of the varied and interesting art on display, the sculpture trail in the beautiful parklands, and the lovely views from the gallery. Also the exclusive products sold in our shop and the excellent café.


Who is your favourite artist and what is your favourite art medium?

As a collector of art it is a difficult question to name my favourite artist. One would be Warwick Fuller, an Australian landscape artist residing and painting in the Blue Mountains area of NSW. His work captures the colours and magic of the mountains. Another would be Vincent Van Gogh for the angst, colour and movement in his art.

My favourite medium is painting with acrylics. I enjoy abstract and landscape and use these because of the vibrant and rich colours available.

We love having Garth as part of the MAC yapang team. Garth’s passion for art is infectious and he contributes significantly to the experience of our art museum with his dedication, enthusiasm and knowledge. 

You can join one of Garth’s tours at MAC yapang every Saturday at 11am – Bookings are not required.


Images from top to bottom:

Image 1: Garth standing in the exhibition space for exhibition Rauschenberg & Johns: Significant Others.

Image 2: Garth chatting to artist Trevor Dickinson at the opening of exhibition Lateral Landscapes.

Image 3: Garth helping with event proceedings at the opening of the Archibald Prize Regional Tour 2022

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