The South West’s premier art facility has announced a new director ahead of a major season exhibiting some of the region’s best artists. Bunbury Regional Art Gallery announced Mike Bianco would take over as director this month after moving to Bunbury from York for the position. Mr Bianco joins BRAG with years of experience in both commercial and non-for-profit art sectors. He has a keen focus for community engagement and sustainability. Alongside extensive qualifications in art, including Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts from Alfred University, a Master of Arts in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in Art and Design from the Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, Mr Bianco is currently completing a PhD at the University of Western Australia. Mr Bianco said it was an honour to be appointed the position and was looking forward in continuing to engage with the South West community. “The South West is one of my favourite places anywhere in the world, and I feel very lucky to be leading a team dedicated to celebrating and exhibiting the ongoing and rich forms of culture which have existed in this place for millennia,” he said. “I see BRAG as more than a gallery, it’s the people’s home for arts, culture, and intellectual curiosity and as such, I am dedicated to making sure that every member of the community feels welcome to call this space their own. “ Mr Bianco takes on the position ahead of a stellar line-up of exhibitions set to be hosted at BRAG in coming months, with many highlighting the extensive talent form the region’s best artists. The South West Art Now 2022 biennial survey later this month will showcase new work from more than 50 artists living in the region. The exhibition received a large number of applications and is expected to engage South West audiences. A group exhibition about climate change runs from late March to June. Artists Rizzy, Susan Flavell, Lara Rose, Olga Cironis, Gemma Ben-Ary and Stephen Genovese feature. BRAG has also opened applications for the Noongar Country 2022 exhibition, an annual exhibition open to all Indigenous artists living and working on Noongar country. This year’s theme — Kaarla Koort-ak: Woonya, Moortr, Boodja — Hearts on Fire: Love, Family, Country invites contemporary Aboriginal artists to explore themes that connect community.