Tag Archives: Hungry for Art

Hungry for Art indeed

In case you haven’t heard, the New South Wales government is in the process of a vigorous attack on education in this state. Judith Ridge has posted passionately and lucidly on the subject at Misrule (full disclosure: she says some nice things about me at the link, in the middle of much else). If you haven’t been noticing the headlines, you can catch up here.

Amid the carnage:

On September 11 the NSW government announced that it would stop funding art education in TAFE, leaving 4000 students without access to finishing their courses in 2013. TAFE Art courses are the main provider of art education in NSW, with many prominent artists getting their first ‘hands on’ training in TAFE. The withdrawal of funding will mean that only the wealthy will be able to afford private art education and NSW will suddenly find it no longer has emerging artists with skills coming through.

That’s right, art education in TAFE will no longer be funded as of 1 January next year. No transition – just a short sharp shock. It’s anyone’s guess what that will mean for people who started a year or two ago confident that the NSW government would honour its implied contract, let alone the hundreds of artists who survive thanks to part time or casual teaching. TAFE is of course the poor relation in art education: when the National Art School boasts of its many illustrious alumni, for example, it rarely mentions that most of them attended when the NAS was actually East Sydney Tech, part of the TAFE system. So art is vulnerable because of course the contribution that artists make to society is routinely rendered invisible, and art teaching at TAFE is double vulnerable because it doesn’t have prestige at the big end of town.

There’s an online petition at CommunityRun, which is the source of the quote above. Do have a look and, if you agree with its gist, sign it. Students at a number of TAFEs are organising, including St George, Nepean, Goulburn, Moss Vale, Meadowbank and Wollongong so far.

The Hungry for Art Festival has hardly finished attracting hundreds of people to  The Gallery School at Meadowbank than the government announces it’s in effect closing the school down. (Because where will they find alternative funding in three months, and will the school still be public, affordable and accessible if they do?) The facebook page of FAIM (Fine Arts Inc Meadowbank) is humming.

As you might guess, the Art Student is in the thick of the campaign against the cuts. Among many other initiatives, it is the subject of the final printmaking project in her Advanced Diploma.

The project is inspired by the petition sent to the Pope by the House of Lords in 1530 pleading for the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. That petition was displayed in Lux in Arcana, the exhibition of material from the Vatican Archives that we were lucky enough to see in July. As well as signatures, the petition boasted the seals of about a hundred lords and bishops hanging on leather thongs. The effect is impressive, but also beautiful.

The Art Student hopes to attract a similar number of artists to sign a petition (wording similar to the one at CommunityRun) and carve a small soapstone block with a symbol representing themselves that can be printed in sealing wax and hung from the petition.  The art student will supply the soapstone, and the artists are welcome to keep the carving once the imprint has been made..

If you know any artists who might be interested, send them this way. My email is jonathan at shawryan dot id dot au.

Last weekend

A quick update on last weekend:

1. Hungry for Art went very well. Hundreds of people attended the Open Day and DrawFest at The Gallery School. Here’s evidence:

Feeding the hunger. Photo by Kate Scott

2. The rushes for the film are looking good:

Photo by Jiao Chen, from http://t.co/M275N7nM

I wasn’t there for either event, and nor was the Industrial Designer. We’d both contributed, but were each busy with other, less bloggable, uncancellable things. All round, it was an excellent weekend for our family.

Busy busy busy

It’s all go chez Me Fail just now. Here’s a brief despatch from the fronts.

Shooting the movie soon to be known as the movie previously known as Scar finished yesterday. I managed to visit the location on Wednesday for a couple of hours. Contrary to all the stuff I’ve read about writers being without honour in the film industry, I found I was very welcome on set. More than one person congratulated me. This was a sweet reminder: because I’d been out of the country for a month during the pre-production period, I’d come to think of myself as Interested Party, Supportive Parent, and Believer in the Project, and effectively forgotten I was Part of It All. This in spite of the FM’s having scrupulously consulted me over proposed changes.

What I saw of the movie looks great, the wrap party is today, and I may have a chance to drop in – in spite of being roughly twice the average age of crew and cast (more than 30 of them, not counting the cow), I’m told I’ll be welcome.

Meanwhile the Art Student is up to pussy’s bow in Hungry for Art – a festival that centres on The Gallery School (as the art department of Meadowbank TAFE is known). Last night there was a pop-up art event at the Top Ryde City mall: people were invited to break out of the lockstep shopping experience to take in a huge video screening of Todd Fuller’s Summer’s End and three pieces of Will Coles‘s street-friendly sculpture (familiar to Newtown but new to Ryde), and many did. There was also a little theatre, some beatbox and an oil painting created before shoppers’ very eyes. The big events – DrawFest and Open Day at the Gallery School tomorrow and an Art Trail through the Ryde suburbs on Sunday – are yet to come. And the Art Student is in the thick of it – organising volunteers, making signs, standing guard over sculptures under threat from sugar-high young people. I’m off elsewhere for the weekend, but if you’re in the neighbourhood, drop in. There’s more, but time is short.

PS: When I went looking for links, I realised that I have a photo of one of Will Coles’s works, taken a couple of months back. The work, ‘Laissez-faire‘, had been overwritten by graffiti, to extraordinary effect. No wonder he was so calm last night when the speedy children were doing their best to damage his ‘Finite’.

The indefatigable Art Student

The Art Student has been busy since we arrived home from splendidly warm northern places. Currently at the Balmain Watch House there’s an exhibition of prints, nominally by the graduating third year printmaking students from The Gallery School, Meadowbank, but actually including work by a large number of professional artists. You can catch it this Saturday and Sunday between 10 and 4. (Information at the Balmain Association web page: click on the link and scroll down to ‘Printeresting’.)

The Art Student is one of the third year students. We’ve been living with her big piece – ‘The details’ – for months, but it only came together last week, with help from our clever industrial designer son. In case you can’t tell from the photo, it’s like a giant version of one of those sliding puzzles, inspired in large part by Heather Goodall’s Invasion to Embassy: Land in Aboriginal Politics in New South Wales, 1770-1992, which lays out in some detail the way Aboriginal people in this state have been dispossessed, driven off their land repeatedly. You may be able to read some of the small text if you click through. And no, the pieces of the puzzle don’t move. Even if they did, there’s no obvious solution. [Added after the AS saw this post: The blue in some of the internal borders isn’t there in the actual work – it’s the black acrylic backing reflecting the flash.]

Not satisfied with making art, the AS has been busy with FAIM (Fine Arts Incorporated Meadowbank), an organisation started by students and alumnae of The Gallery School with the aim, among other things, of raising the profile of the school’s See Street Gallery. Coming up is their first fabulous major initiative, the Hungry for Art Festival, which is going to be bigger than Ben Hur, with exhibitions, competitions, an Art Trail through the Ryde Municipality, you name it. From the web site:

  • DrawFest & Open Day, 18 August – The Sydney Gallery School … present a full day’s program of art exhibitions, talks, workshops, drawing and sculpture activities, art market, performance, music, food and more.
  • Art Trail, 19 August – The suburbs come alive with the first ever Art Trail. Local artists open their doors, providing a rare opportunity to see inside their studios. Galleries and visual art businesses will participate revealing a region rich in creative activity.

There’s a Mobile Phone Photo Competition that closes this Friday, open to anyone who lives, works or plays in Ryde Municipality – and who has never played in Ryde? Go on, how often do you get a chance to have one of your photos hung in a white-wall gallery?