If you have never had the good fortune to visit the Nicholas building, I highly recommend that you do. It has a rich and varied history, but for many years has housed a number of work spaces for Melbourne artists. This twilight festival starts tomorrow afternoon at 4pm.
BLINDSIDE presents their 2014 Festival: MEET THE PUBLIC from 27 August to 6 September.
This 11-day multi-platform event tests the limits of public participation in contemporary art practice. It showcases a series of performative and participatory works by artists and art collectives who explore the parameters for artist and audience engagement through live art, site-specific interventions, and inter-subjective encounters.
Amy Spiers, Please Wait Here Until Called, 2014. Courtesy of the artist
What is an Artist Run Initiative? An Artist run space or initiative is exactly as the name suggests- a space run by artists. It is a not for profit organisation made up of a collective of artists and other volunteers who may serve as a contributing artist; or independently as an accountant, manager or a host of other positions relevant to the running of the operation. Funding is usually acquired through local or government grants and contributions from the artists themselves who may wish to exhibit there. Donations from the public and philanthropic interests are also important to the running of these initiatives.
There are a number of these initiatives dotted around Australia and the world. To give you an example of just a few that I have frequented… Blindside is in Melbourne’s Nicholson Street Building. A good way to find out more about what the aim of an initiative is to read their mission statement. Blindside supports art practices that are ‘on the periphery, for it is there that creativity thrives and the new is born’. Blindside are also strong advocates of contemporary art practices that ‘actively engages and challenges a diverse audience, creating new dialogues’. The exhibitons that I have seen there have certainly lived up to this statement, especially in relation to the materials, the use of space and the thematic approach to the work.
The Hut Gallery-Ferntree Gully
An example of an outer suburban Artist Run Initative is The Hut Gallery in Ferntree Gully. Seventy Years ago, the Hut Gallery was born-it has a fascinating history. According to Treasurer Dorothy Davies, if you want to have an exhibition at The Hut, a 25% commission is taken which goes back into the general running of the gallery, such as heating, lighting and general maintenance. The gallery committee will hang and organise the show. In 2007 the gallery was fortunate to receive a large grant from the Local Council to refurbish. Often the gallery will run art competitions and exhibitions with prizes sponsored by local businesses.
Colour Box Studio in Footscray has held various pop up shops, workshops and projects which help to keep the space running, establishing strong links with the community.
I have also included a link to a list of ARI’S as a separate page at the top of this blog.
Just a quick run down of the large scale happenings in Melbourne over the coming weeks. The Melbourne Art fair is days away…
Interestingly, down the road…The Windsor Hotel in Melbourne is holding its own Art Fair with a multitude of participants. Spring 1883 will be worthwhile checking out.
Then of course in the months of September and October, there is the Melbourne Fringe Festival. A plethora of choice. Melbourne certainly can deliver!
Good luck! I hope you can make it to at least one or more of these events. I will be reporting back soon.
By Celeste Hawkins
The area of Brunswick and surrounds has been known for some time to be a thriving hub of Melbourne’s creative arts scene. As mentioned in the accompanying film, as the inner city suburbs become more gentrified; artists are pushed out due to soaring rents. For example, the Victorian town of Castlemaine has become quite a refuge for the exodus of creative types escaping soaring house prices during the mid 2000′s. Brunswick is on the fringe of these changes, with developers moving in. But for now, the cost of living still seems to be sustainable enough for people to exist, collaborate and create there.
Creative Moreland is an internet resource of artists and creative people living and working in the city of Moreland, Melbourne Australia. Darcy Gladwin is it’s founder and you can find out more about it by clicking here.
There is currently a callout for artists who work in or want to work in textiles for a collaborative tapestry representing the Moreland area.
Mural by Hazel Dooney- Royal Lane
Open for Inspection-West Space
Photos by: Nat Sinclair
Daniel Truscott- In Ghostly Japan
Lesley Kehoe Galleries
Live performance and artworks
Photos by Nat Sinclair Hosier Lane at Night
Nite Art-July 2014
Photos by Nat Sinclair Shun Kawakami- Backwoods x No Vacancy
St Kilda Road-Southbank