THE Newcastle art community is hurting after the local council decided to axe the Newcastle Art Gallery director position.
University of Newcastle Art Gallery curator Gillean Shaw said there was a concern the community was not properly consulted in the decision to cut the director's job.
Ms Shaw said the city of Newcastle had the most artists per capita of any Australian city and the council should have thoroughly engaged the community in a decision that affected so many people.
"The focus needs to be on the community, which got the gallery going in the first place," Ms Shaw said.
"The council is [only] there for public service in the end."
Earlier this year, Newcastle councillors voted in favour of a restructure after a $29 million budget blowout.
The change affects 82 positions and cuts 25 management roles to 19, affecting the gallery and museum director roles.
Ms Shaw said the best outcome for the gallery would only be reached through a proper dialogue between the council and the community.
"You can almost feel the hurt of those people who have been supporters for decades," she said.
Ms Shaw said when it came down to funding, the arts were often considered a luxury, not an essential.