The legacy and memory of Val and John Ryan

Dec 22, 2020

The Foundation and HMRI hosted an intimate event on Sunday 13 December commemorating Valerie Ryan on what would have been her 96th birthday. The event celebrating Valerie and John Ryan’s life and legacy was attended by Val’s niece Megan McManus, her partner Jason Rush and John Ryan’s niece Yvonne Smith. Unfortunately Megan’s sister Belinda McManus and her husband were unable to travel from New Zealand due to restrictions. Also attending were representatives from the Foundation, HMRI, Gallery Director Lauretta Morton and Judy Hart, Val’s friend and neighbour and former Chair of the Foundation.

The day included a special Gallery tour hosted by Lauretta and Lisa Kirkpatrick, Collection and Exhibitions Officer. Guests had the opportunity to view some of the iconic works Val contributed to during her life including The Newcastle Chest. 2010, Storm Over Wangi.1948 by William Dobell and Val’s beloved Stuart and Sons piano.

The group enjoyed lunch at Noah’s where the family was presented with a commemorative history of Val and John’s life together. The family expressed their appreciation to NAGF and HMRI for the care and respect shown to Val and John’s memory and legacy.

Val and John Ryan

L to R: Yvonne Smith, Megan McManus, Jason Rush and Gallery Director Lauretta Morton view a book on the life and legacy of Val and John Ryan

Val and John Ryan

Gallery Director Lauretta Morton leading a behind the scenes Gallery tour

Gallery Director Lauretta Morton leading a behind the scenes Gallery tour


Family: Megan McManus (niece) & Jason Rush

Yvonne Smith (niece)

Nick Dan – solicitor

Gallery: Suzie Galwey, Chair Art Gallery Foundation

Judy Hart, former Chair & Valerie’s neighbor

Lauretta Morton, Gallery Director

HMRI: Prof Mike Calford, Institute Director

Libby Rodgers-McPhee, Senior Philanthropy Manager

Prof Janet Nelson, Director HMRI Board and DVC(Research & Innovation at the University of Newcastle)