Working for an Art Centre

Looking for a career change? Working for a community based Art Centre is an exciting, dynamic and incredibly rewarding job.

Art Centre work is never boring! It requires a diverse combination of skills and personal attributes.  Good Art Centre workers, work under the guidance of the Art Centre governing bodies and artists, are creative problem solvers, enjoy rolling up their sleeves,  love the adventure of living remotely, are good administrators, pay attention to detail, can manage a social enterprise and are passionate about the people they are working for and their art and craft. 

Art Centre tasks:

Running professional studio spaces.
Financial management
Grant writing and acquittals
Cataloguing and photography
Marketing
Curating exhibitions
Managing commercial and non-commercial gallery relationships
Managing and training staff and arts workers
Governance
Organising bush trips

Art Centres are community owned and operated artistic cooperatives.  At their nucleus, Art Centres share a number of attributes: using the creative and cultural skills of a group of artists to produce art works of excellence, linking remote area artists with the national and international art market and building a viable, non-profit and transparent enterprises.  Art Centres provide training and new opportunities for communities.

Some of the things that Art Centres do:

Access to independent income
Contribute to individual and community wellbeing
Empower artists to develop personally and professionally
Direct links to national and international audiences and opportunities
Provide impeccable provenance for all artworks produced
Work with artists of all ages and abilities
Support intergenerational learning and the transmission of cultural knowledge
Support both established and emerging artists
Make a significant contribution to Australia’s national identity
Support for a wide range of cultural and community activities

The Studio:

At the heart of an Art Centre is the studio – busy places, with artists occupying their favourite spots, working intently with their canvases, fibre or carving.  Children and family come by, to talk to the artists and listen to their stories.  In the background, the activities of the Art Centre are running.

Art Centres provide their artists with professional-quality materials, from stretched canvas, acrylic paints and a range of brushes, top printmaking supplies plus weaving and carving materials.  It is a constant job to provide materials and then to document all the works as they are finished.  This involves stretching new canvas and preparing paints, documenting finished works by photographing and recording the stories for the painting certificate, un-stretching the works and readying them for sale to customers and online.  Then the whole process starts again…

On Country:

The many layers and meanings of ‘Country’ – a concept that encompasses physical, mythical, historical and personal concepts of place and identity.  So, trips to 'Country' for collecting materials, art-making or to care for the country for which artists are responsible are very popular. 

Main image credit: Bana Yirriji Art Centre manager Vikki Burrows doing canvas prep. September 2018. Image: IACA

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IACA programs and events receive financial assistance from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland’s Backing Indigenous Arts initiative, from the Federal Government’s Ministry for the Arts through the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program and the Indigenous Languages and Arts program and the Australia Council for the Arts. IACA supports the Indigenous Art Code.

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