It’s been a roller coaster for IACA and our 14-member Indigenous art centres during the past 5 months under COVID 19 restrictions. Like everyone all our normal events and travel were dashed, and we had to quickly plan and deliver an altered program that met the new needs of our art centre members. Our first priority was the health of artists and staff at the art centres so we set up several ways of communicating regularly with a weekly Zoom meeting, checking in every Tuesday, and a private members facebook page to post helpful information and ask questions, as we headed into unknown territory.
Upon cancelling our face-to-face April IACA conference, we introduced training delivery with 14 Zoom sessions covering a variety of areas pertinent to working in lockdown. The sessions covered photography – both artwork documentation and artist portraits, online sales and marketing, statistics - how to get them and how to use them in your business, contracts, wills, and licencing. Also, brand development, making and editing videos, updates from CIAF and Arts QLD, SAM database training, stocktake and studio tips. Lastly, we managed a NorthSite Gallery update and virtual tour of the renovated Cairns contemporary art space Bulmba-ja. Sessions ran every Wednesday afternoon for two hours, were well attended, recorded for future viewing for those who missed them, and feedback has been very positive.
The lockdown and cancellation of Art Fairs and closures of commercial galleries has meant that art sales dropped instantly, so IACA lobbied Federal and State governments to provide some emergency funds for all our members, we are very pleased and grateful to the State and Federal government for their response to our requests for funds to help our members see it through this tough time. We are equally pleased that Qld Indigenous communities have remained safe from COVID 19 with not one case reported, may this continue.
We are very pleased and grateful to the State and Federal government for their response to our requests for funds to help our members see it through this tough time.Pam Bigelow
Main image credit: Training workshop via Zoom. Image IACA