Curator Shona Coyne presenting on behalf of the National Museum of Australia.

IACA Members back together again

In April, for the first time in 18 months, IACA Members were able to hold a face-to-face conference. It was wonderful to be together again, share our stories and reconnect after a year of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Over the three-day conference, we looked at product development for online sales and the intricacies of artwork licensing to produce merchandise. The membership met Professor David Throsby who is running a national research project surveying economic outcomes of remote artists across Australia. We are the last region to be surveyed and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of this research and how it will inform the sector. Tracey Groves from Cairns Airport consulted with our members to understand how the airport can work in a more meaningful way to commission art works for the airport. The membership appreciated this approach of listening and hope to see lots of IACA artists works at the airport over coming years.

A wonderful session on self-care for managers and staff hit a nerve for all, and more will be done around this topic in future conferences. Robyn Ayres of Arts Law gave an update on their services and answered the many legal queries the art centres had. We then visited the newly renovated gallery spaces at the Courthouse and Northsite Galleries in Cairns.

An industry specialist panel comprising of Shona Coyne (NMA) representing institutions, Paul Johnstone representing commercial galleries, Claire Summers representing art fairs, and Tim Acker representing industry specialists, discussed the differing roles of these vital components of the Indigenous Art Industry. Shona Coyne spoke about the Belonging exhibition set to show at the NMA in September this year, and how it will roll out over 2021/22. Shilo McNamee and Claire Summers from Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair presented on Customer Service and Managing Sales and Leah Emery of Artisan in Brisbane discussed opportunities for Art Centres. The conference was wrapped up with final updates from Arts QLD and CIAF.

Our conference dinner was held at Edge Hill Lawn Bowls Club where friendly competition amongst members made for great fun and a lot of laughs on the lawn bowls field. It really was great to be together again at this power packed conference.

In other news, the IACA Management Committee have also undertaken timely governance training with Maggie Kavenaugh. A full day of training provided an essential refresh in governance skills and knowledge for our new Board Members.

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IACA programs and events receive financial assistance from the Queensland Government through the Arts Queensland Backing Indigenous Arts initiative, from the Federal Government’s Ministry for the Arts through the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program, the Australia Council for the Arts and Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund - an Australian Government initiative. IACA supports the Indigenous Art Code.

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