Art on the Move training for gallery volunteers, 2009


Connecting to the Creative Grid logo

Connecting to the Creative Grid -project locations and activities map
Click here for large map

1. PROJECT BACKGROUND

In May 2017 Country Arts WA contracted Southern Forest Arts to coordinate the scoping of a co-creation project between 8 regional WA artists, 21 regional WA arts organisations and 6 Perth-based peak arts organisations to support the development of the WA regional visual arts sector.

This collaborative cluster was one of four projects funded through the pilot round of the Regional Arts Partnership Program (RAPP) with Creative Regions Program investment from The Department of Local Government Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC).

The RAPP program was designed to shift the usual paradigm of relationships between artists, arts organisations and service providers.

2. PROJECT DEVELOPMENT

The RAPP visual arts cluster invited an additional 19 regional arts organisations to join the collaborative, bringing the total number of regional arts organisations to 40, comprised of:

  • 8 aboriginal art centres;
  • 10 Local Government Authorities;
  • 22 not for profit organisations.

This represents a diverse mix of arts organisations (from the well-resourced to the under-resourced), managing 30 exhibition venues and a broad variety of arts programs, based in 35 communities stretched across 2.64 million square kilometres of rural, regional and remote WA landscape.

Self-branded as 'The Creative Grid', this name references the interweaving of diverse elements into a strong, functional and dynamic unit. It symbolises the many points of arts activity occurring across the State's vast geography and the capacity for energy generation when inter-connected.

Collaboratively, The Creative Grid formed an integrated system of activities that would develop the regional visual arts sector and enliven regional WA communities.

The Project Plan was assessed by staff from Country Arts WA & Culture & the Arts WA in July 2018. It was later peer-assessed by members of the other RAPP clusters, prior to further funds being approved for implementation.

The project is currently in its Resourcing Phase. Additional funding is sought from a range of potential partners to enable the project's grand vision to mature to fruition.

3. PROJECT RATIONALE

During four months of conversation, meetings, surveys & correspondence Creative Grid members and partners identified the following issues affecting the regional visual arts sector:

  1. professional isolation;
  2. inadequate access to professional development;
  3. weak profile of regional artists, arts organisations & activities in metropolitan Perth and beyond;
  4. need for audience development;
  5. desire to increase community engagement

Utilising the power of the collaborative to share resources & expertise, Connecting to the Grid, will address each of these issues in one or more of the project's nine activity pathways.

Project objectives are:

  1. increased industry networking - through participation in collaborative activity;
  2. increased access to professional skills, advice, resources - through mentorships, internships, workshops & resources that optimise industry standards;
  3. increased, inclusive & diverse audiences - through advice, resources & training;
  4. increased profile of regional artists/organisation/activities - through promotion of success stories & strategic artwork development & presentation;
  5. increased choice, range and access to arts opportunities - through an audacious series of inter-connected events & activities.

None of these are currently available on a systematic or comprehensive scale within regional WA. They will lead to:

  1. capability & capacity building among individual artists & arts organisations;
  2. resulting in increased sustainability of regional arts practice;
  3. resulting in increased economic, social & cultural vibrancy for participating regional communities.

Connecting to the Creative Grid visual summaryClick here for a readable pdf of the project visual summary.

4. PROJECT TIME-FRAME

Connecting to the Creative Grid is an 18 month project, with 9 activity pathways, delivered in two stages:

  • STAGE 1: EMPOWER
    Empowering the WA regional visual arts sector (January - August '18)
    Focus: Arts Audience Development
  • STAGE 2: ENGAGE
    Engaging WA regional communities in art (September '18 - June '19)
    Focus: Arts Audience Engagement

Skills, resources and networks developed in Stage 1 will be applied in Stage 2.

5. PROJECT ACTIVITY PATHWAYS

    STAGE 1: EMPOWER

  1. PROGRAM EVALUATION

    Utilising access to Culture Counts WA’s internationally renowned arts-evaluation tools and training, Creative Grid members will analyse existing audience behaviour and identify potential for audience growth. Following advice from a range of peak arts organisations, Creative Grid members will implement program changes to connect more meaningfully with diverse, inclusive & expanded audiences.

  2. RESOURCE TOOLKITS

    Creative Grid members and project partners will collaboratively pool, modify and develop a series of universal document templates (eg policies, protocols, agreements, contracts, guidelines), for review by relevant industry bodies (eg. ArtsLaw) before digital distribution to artists, arts professionals and arts organisations across regional WA through extensive member and partner networks. This will optimise the sector's capacity to operate sustainable arts business by providing free access to best-practice industry resources.

  3. REGIONAL EXHIBITION EXCHANGE NETWORK

    Establishment of a framework to facilitate the exchange of (locally produced) exhibitions between regional exhibition venues (providing unprecedented access for smaller organisations and communities to intra-regional art/cultural exchange and providing artists with access to new audiences). This will be achieved by combining resources developed through the project's Resource Toolkits pathway and expansion of the Galleries West website.

  4. ARTSPIRATION

    The profile of regional artists, arts professionals and arts organisations will be raised through the development and presentation of the Artspiration series - 30 vignettes showcasing arts expertise. Each ten to twenty minute episode will be presented by a different artist, arts professional or arts organisation, from a range of locations across the state, encompassing diverse approaches to arts success. Produced by Albany film-makers, Greenman Media, the series will be screened nationally, available as online videos (through the Galleries West website), podcasts & broadcast via Westlink TV.

  5. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS

    8 Professional Development training workshops will be held in 8 of the WA's 9 regions. Presented by industry experts from a range of Perth-based peak arts service providers, each one day session will explore a different approach to audience development to support individuals and organisations operate more viable and vibrant arts businesses. Each host organisation has identified the focus issue for their region. Sessions include:

    • "Telling Our Stories" - Art on the Move & Museums Galleries WA (Albany);
    • "Finding Your Youth*" - Propel Youth Arts (Geraldton & Esperance);
    • "Connecting your Art to your Audience*" - Artsource (Exmouth)
    • * working title

  6. MENTORSHIPS & INTERNSHIPS

    122 regional arts practitioners will benefit from project mentorships that connect emerging WA artists & arts professionals to the wisdom, skills and networks of established counterparts across regional Australia. Mentorships include: 15 exhibition artist mentorships, 10 public art mentorships, 18 photography/filmmaker mentorships and 18 curator mentorships.

    12 internships offered by 3 of the state's key regional galleries will provide 12 short-term placements to up-skill representatives from smaller organisations in various aspects of gallery operation (including programming, audience development, exhibition installation and collection management).

  7. STAGE 2: ENGAGE

  8. ACTIVATE EXHIBITION VENUES

    Activation of 22 venues in 22 regional communities through the most extensive series of inter-connected exhibitions ever undertaken with WA including: 18 group shows; 15 solo shows; and 5 touring shows (as pilot exchanges within the Regional Exhibition Exchange Network).

    The group shows will utilise an over-arching theme of ‘Artist and the Muse’ to provide innovative audience development and community engagement opportunities. Artists and organisations will step outside cultural comfort zones to create and present work in response to people from outside a traditional arts audience. When the 'Muse' brings their network of friends/family to see the resulting piece they will no longer be the arts-disengaged, having become the 'arts-engaged'.

  9. ACTIVATE PUBLIC SPACE

    The commissioning of a series of small-scale and/or ephemeral artworks to art-activate public space within 10 regional communities. These will explore and celebrate a sense of place and belonging.

  10. ENGAGE COMMUNITIES

    The active participation of an estimated 2000+ residents in 129+ artist talks, workshops, school incursions/excursions and other activities linked to the project's exhibitions and public artworks across 24 regional communities.

6. PROJECT DELIVERY

Connecting to the Creative Grid will be centrally coordinated by Southern Forest Arts to ensure consistent management across all activity pathways and effective communication within the collaborative. Country Arts WA will play a strong support role.

Each Creative Grid organisation is responsible for delivery of activities within their local community and has determined the extent of project involvement dependent upon their capabilities and community context.

Organisations are either 'Distributors' or 'Generators'. Distributing organisations promote project activities and disseminate project material (eg Resource Toolkits). Generating organisations do the same as Distributors plus generate exhibitions, installations, internships, mentorships, Artspiration stories and resources for the toolkits.

The Creative Grid has identified four levels of organisational capacity, from the most resourced organisations in Level 1 to least-resourced in Level 4. Project finances and energy will be focused upon emerging artists and arts professionals, under-resourced arts organisations and communities with fewest arts and cultural opportunities. This is an equitable 'big-picture' approach to capacity building the regions as a whole, recognising that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

7. PROJECT PERSONNEL

The Creative Grid includes some of WA's most experienced and innovative arts professionals. Each of the 40 participating organisations are backed by a team of dedicated staff and volunteers with strong links to their local communities. The following brief biographies give an indication of the project's arts management calibre.

CENTRAL PROJECT COORDINATOR

Fiona Sinclair (Northcliffe)

Fiona is a practising professional artist (specialising in public art & community engagement) and professional arts-worker (specialising in community cultural development) with twenty years' experience. She has worked in more than ten communities across regional WA and has extensive industry expertise and networks. Through her role as Project Coordinator for the establishment of the Understory Art & Nature Trail (a cultural tourism attraction of State significance) she gained familiarity with project budgets in excess of $600,000 and the coordination of complex stakeholder partnerships. Fiona manages the Understory attraction and the Painted Tree Gallery (both in Northcliffe) in a voluntary capacity as Secretary of Southern Forest Arts. She recently joined the Board of Country Arts WA.

LOCAL PROJECT COORDINATORS

Diana McGirr (Busselton)
www.artgeo.com.au

Diana is one of regional WA's most well-respected curators and critics. She received her PhD in Contemporary Art History from Curtin University in 2016, with her thesis, Legitimate landscapes: repositioning contemporary regional art production arguing that 'being regional' is a legitimate position in today's art world, on its own terms and as part of a globalising tendency that recognises the validity of regional contexts and perspectives. Diana has been coordinator of the Art Geo Cultural Complex since 2013. Her previous positions include Director of the Bunbury Regional Arts Gallery, Executive Director of Museums Galleries Australia WA.

[Diana has also agreed to be a Mentor for the Creative Grid Curator mentorship program]

Gary Aitken (Mandurah)
www.manpac.com.au/alcoa-mandurah-art-gallery

Gary has been Curator of the Alcoa Mandurah Art Gallery since 2009. He has an impressive reputation as a community and public artist (particularly within the Peel region) having completed over 30 commissions for local and state government departments and a variety of private and commercial agencies. His work is included in major state collections, including: Art Gallery of Western Australia, University of Western Australia, Curtin University of Technology, Edith Cowen University, City of Wanneroo, City of Mandurah and various Private Collections.

[Gary has also agreed to be a Mentor for the Creative Grid Artist mentorship program]

Jane Mulcock (Esperance)
www.esperancecommunityarts.org.au

Jane has been the Executive Officer at Esperance Community Arts since 2013. She has an arts & Career Education degree from RMIT, and a PhD from UWA (in Anthropology). She is a Research Fellow for the Learning Centre at Curtin University and has in the past been a sessional lecturer for RMIT and Monash universities. Her passion is the facilitation and promotions of the arts as a vehicle for rural and regional community development.

Julian Bowron (Bunbury)
www.brag.org.au

Julian has worked within the art gallery management sector for three decades. Originally a photographer with the Auckland City Art Gallery, he then moved to regional Victoria to manage a number of galleries prior to relocation to Western Australia where he has been director of the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery for several years. Julian is Chairperson of the newly formed Galleries West and the board of Art on the Move. He is well-respected within state and national visual arts circles.

PROJECT FILM-MAKER

Adrian Gaspari (Albany)
www.greenmanmedia.com.au

Film-makers Adrian Gaspari and Josephine Hayes founded Green Man Media Productions in Albany, Western Australia, in 2008. Their small team of dedicated multimedia professionals is friendly, fun and fully equipped with the latest in digital technology and exceptional interpersonal skills. They draw influence from the shared environment, working organically to create multi-media productions. Adrian also helps coordinates Film Harvest - an independent organisation dedicated to presenting arthouse and independent film every week through four regional cinemas.

POTENTIAL PROJECT MENTORS

A pool of established artists, curators & photographers/filmmakers has been identified as available Mentors for the 61 project mentorships. The following brief biographies are from just a few of the WA arts professionals that have confirmed willingness to be included in the program.

ARTISTS

Indra Geidans (Albany)
www.turnergalleries.com.au/artists/indra_geidans.php

Indra has held 14 solo exhibitions in numerous galleries across Australia over her thirty year professional career. She has received significant recognition of her work through awards, international residencies and commissions including: 2009 Winner Albany Art prize, 2007 Basel residency (Switzerland) 2003- Artist in Residency, Galerie Gaswerk, Schwabach (Germany), 2000- WA Dept. of the Arts - Exhibition to Riga, (Latvija). Her work is included in the following collections: Art Gallery of WA, Federal Law Courts of Australia, University of WA, Edith Cowan University, City of Albany, City of Bunbury, City of Bayswater, City of Joondalup, Central Institute of Technology, Delaney Galleries, Royal Perth Hospital, Cruthers Collection of Womens Art, City of Wanneroo, Bankwest, City of Vincent, BHP Billiton, Murdoch University, Migros Klubschule, Various private collections in Australia, Switzerland, Latvija, Germany and the UK. She currently exhibits with the Turner Gallery in Perth.

Tony Windberg (Pemberton)
www.tonywindberg.com

Tony's work has been recognised through in major public art commissions through the Percent For Art program (including WA' District Court Building), and art awards from across regional WA (including Cossack, Bunbury Biennale, South West Survey, Minnawarra Art Award, Leonora Art Prize & Mid West Art Prize. He has held 15 solo exhibitions and participated in more than 30 group exhibitions in a career that has spanned over two decades. Tony is a lecturer for TAFE and a passionate teacher. Tony's most recent exhibition 'Control Point' toured to three venues in the South West - Mandurah, Busselton and Northcliffe.

Claire Beausein (Broome)
www.clairebeausein.com.au

Claire Beausein is a mid-career artist who works across several media including assemblage, oil on canvas and sculpture. She also has extensive experience with hand-made paper both as a traditional and contemporary medium. Beausein has extended her paper practice with residencies both at the Basel paper mill in Switzerland and Awagami factory in Japan. She has had over twenty solo exhibitions both in Australia and overseas. Claire has been based in Broome for over twenty years. She is currently represented by Lincoln and Kay Galleries.

Andrew Frazer (Bunbury)
andrewfrazerdesigns.com

Andrew Frazer is a multidisciplinary artist from Bunbury, Western Australia. Inspired by stories of hope, despair, redemption, pain & forgiveness - Andrew's narrative based art continues to draw upon these experiences that connect us all through shared stories. From public murals, illustration, hand lettering, design & arts management (Six Two Three Zero) - Andrew's arts practise continues to expand & refine as a testament to his passion for personal growth. Select Commercial Clients include: VPG Property, Custard Cider, Freedom, First Nature, Kidsafe WA, Holstee, Southern Cross Austereo & FORM. Select Government Clients include: City of Stirling, City of Armadale, City of Bunbury, Shire of Dardanup, Shire of Collie, City of Vincent & Shire of Augusta Margaret River.

Serena Mclauchlan (Albany)
www.hotchingallery.com.au/serena-mclauchlan/

Serena has held four solo exhibitions at a range of metro galleries (including the Turner, Church and Arthouse galleries) and regional galleries (Hotchin Gallery) over the past 16 years with selection for a number of Perth International Arts Festival events among a strong line-up of group exhibitions. The recipient of numerous Artist in Residencies and awards she has also project managed large regional art activities such as the 2013 Bendigo Bank Art & Craft Trail, lectured in painting for Edith Cowan University (Mt Lawley). She is currently Manager (with David Edgar) of the Hotchin Gallery - Albany WA Contemporary/Investment online Art Gallery.

CURATORS

Caroline Lunel (Balingup)

Caroline has been Curator of the City of Bunbury Art Collection and Bunbury Biennale since 2012, prior to which she operated her private gallery, Gallerie B, in the town of Balingup. She has been associated with numerous galleries, awards and exhibitions within Western Australia including Gallery 360, the Joondalup Art Award, Artplace, Indigenart, Greenhill Galleries, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art and as Education Assistant, Art Technician at the State Gallery of WA. Caroline is also a practicing professional artist with a Diploma of Art and of Visual Arts Management.

Charmain Green (Geraldton)
www.yamajiart.com

Charmaine is a self-taught visual artist and published poet who writes and paints about her country and culture. She is gaining a reputation as an indigenous curator of national esteem. In 2016 she undertook a role as a mentee curator and represented Australia at the Venice Biennale. Charmaine has developed a contemporary style giving special importance to line work which she believes represents the style of work done by her ancestors in the Murchison and Midwest Region. Charmaine has a strong sense of place linking her to country and likes to reflect this in her artwork. Charmaine is represented by Yamaji Art Centre.

Annette Davis (Albany)
www.annettedavisart.com

Annette is a practicing artist and curator. In recent years she has exhibited in four exhibitions at various venues within Albany. Her curatorial work includes: MIX Artists contemporary art exhibitions - Co-ordinator for HomeFRONT (2015), WEB (2014), LightHouse (2013), ten(T) (2012), In the MIX(2011), Co-curator for Hotspot Cultural Project (2006) and Liminal (2005). City of Albany - Curator, Bella Kelly Retrospective, Vancouver Arts Centre (2016), Curator In Print - Printmaking Revealed, Vancouver Arts Centre, (2015) Curator, Ripples in the Pond, the influence of the Carrolup School on Noongar Art, Vancouver Arts Centre, (2014), Co-ordinator, City of Albany Art Prize (2007 - 2012). Curator Metamorphosis (2013), Illuminate (2011) and 20 Years and Beyond (2009). New Arts Inc - Curator and project manager, Paperartzi '07, '09 and '11 2D and 3D artworks using paper, presented in shopfronts, outdoor spaces and galleries in Albany. ArtsNarrogin - Curator, The Carol and Peter Taylor Collection inaugural exhibition (2016).

PHOTOGRAPHERS

John Austin (Quinninup)
jbaphoto.com.au

John Austin's black & white silver gelatin photographs are in many collections, including the National Portrait Gallery, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the Australian National Library, Curtin University, Bunbury Regional Art Gallery, Western Australian Department of Justice and private collections in Australia, Singapore, the USA, South America and England.

Kate Heaslip (Bunbury)
www.kateheaslip.com.au

Kate has published three books of her photographic images. "About Face: A Photographic Celebration of People Living in the Southern Highlands" (2011) won a gold medal in the 2013 IPPY Awards, "The WAIS Fliers: A Photo Documentary" (2009) and "The Way of the Carrot" (2005). She is a sessional Lecturer at ECU Bunbury in Digital Media, Graphic Design & Journalism. She has worked as a professional photographer for 20+ years, manages a book publishing business (The Book Incubator) and is a community cultural development worker and social justice advocate.

8. PROJECT PARTNERS

The Creative Grid are grateful to the passion and expertise of the following partners for their ongoing support in the development (and future delivery) of the Connecting to the Creative Grid project:

WA METRO-BASED PEAK ARTS SERVICE ORGANISATIONS

  • Country Arts WA
  • Art on the Move
  • MGAWA (Museums Galleries Australia Western Australia)
  • Artsource
  • DADAA (Disability and Disadvantage in the Arts)
  • Propel Youth Arts
  • AACHWA (Aboriginal Arts Centre Hub Western Australia)
  • CANWA (Community Arts Network WA)

WA STATE-WIDE VISUAL ARTS ADVOCACY ORGANISATION

  • Galleries West

Table of Regional Partners
Click for larger view

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THIS PROJECT CONTACT:

FIONA SINCLAIR (PROJECT COORDINATOR): info@southernforestarts.com.au