Museums & Galleries Qld

Roana O’Neill, Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery blogs Day 2 of mentorship at Art Gallery of New South Wales

Posted on: 20 April 2012

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Sydney has turned chilly but it doesn’t seem to have stopped the droves of people from coming to the Gallery. Eager children gathered inside the Gallery waiting to attend the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize School Holiday Workshop.

The workshop consisted of an educational tour involving discussion of works in the exhibition followed by a practical component. 20 children were supervised by the two educators running the workshop and 2 volunteer guides. Lisbeth and Rachael invited the children to sit in front of one of the final entries and expertly led a conversation between the children helping the group to read the visual cues, reinforcing what they had learnt and building on their knowledge. By the third artwork children were confidently sharing their thoughts and answering questions. The practical component involved the children making their own self-portrait using oil pastels and watercolour on canvas, followed by a discussion on what they had created.

Families could then attend People and Portraits, a free event held in the open space between the entrance and the restaurant. David Legge, a well known children’s illustrator discussed how to draw a face in different poses whilst demonstrating on an easel. Children and adults could follow along using paper and pencils provided. This event was run in support of the Archibald Prize Exhibition and proved very popular.

In the afternoon Nicole and I attended the school holiday workshop for children aged 9 – 13 year olds, which followed a similar format of discussion and creating a self-portrait. Again Lisbeth and Rachael guided a discussion with the group, inviting opinions, asking many open ended questions, really encouraging children to look and search the work and pointing out areas for the children to consider when creating their own self-portrait. This activity was 30 minutes longer than the younger children’s group in the morning to allow the group time to complete their work.

After this event we had a meeting with Rachael, one of the teacher lecturers about a project she has been involved in called Operation Art which has been running for approximately 10 years. What started as an idea by Joanna Capon, wife of the former Director of AGNSW, Edmund Capon, to place artworks at the Children’s Westmead Hospital, has grown from 50 works in its initial year to 780 entries last year. Operation Art has grown into a competition open to primary and high school students to submit 2D works of any subject. 50 works are selected with the judging undertaken by AGNSW’s Senior Co-ordinator of Education Programs. Works are hung at AGNSW and at the Newington Armory and finally hung at the Children’s Hospital. Rachael’s involvement includes running workshops to teachers as well as student workshops and assisting in writing educational support material for a CD for teachers.

Nicole and I then prepared ourselves for the Gallery’s evening festivities. Every Wednesday the Gallery runs its Art After Hours program which involves artist or curator talks, live music, and film screenings. We started off by attending a half hour discussion on an artwork by Sheona White, Head of Public Programs who focused on an artwork of a figure as part of the Archibald theme, which was then followed by a special discussion with Annabel Crabb, political commentator and ABC Chief online political writer, artist Kate Tucker and musician Missy Higgins who Kate had painted for the Archibald, with the work being one of the finalists. These weekly events are very popular with many people attending after work. The program is co-ordinated by 2 staff, Emma and Andrew, who work about 3 months ahead to ensure a smooth event for the 180 – 200 people that attend. The discussion provided an insight into why the artist had chosen Missy Higgins as her subject and what their relationship was. Attendees could then watch a free screening of LA Confidential or enjoy dinner in the café which is what we opted for whilst listening to 2 musicians from The Falls play.

Once again we had had a very fulfilling day with staff taking the time to answer our questions despite their very busy work programs.

M&GSQ’s 2012 Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program is funded by Arts Queensland through the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF). RADF is a joint Queensland Government and Local Government partnership to support local arts and culture.

Go to the M&GSQ website, for an announcement about the recipients of the 2012 Mentorship, Exchange and Fellowship Program.

Captions Images Day 2 blog


The impressive Art Gallery New South Wales

Holiday Program Discussion

Lisbeth and Rachael, teacher educators run a discussion in the Archibald Exhibition with children aged 5 – 8 years as part of the school holiday program.

Girl Painting

Children used mirrors, canvas, oil pastels and paint to create their own self-portrait.

David Legge

A free demonstration was held in the Gallery by David Legge on some different approaches to drawing portraits.

Holiday Program Older Class

Young boy completing his self-portrait in the older children’s school holiday program

AGNSW at Night

Art Gallery New South Wales comes to life every Wednesday for Art Afterhours

Missy Higgins

Celebrity talk held with Annabel Crabb, Artist Kate Tucker and Missy Higgins discussing the Archibald

Sheona White

Head of Public Programs, Sheona White during a half hour free public discussion of an artwork of a figure as part of the Art Afterhours events.


Me in the Function Room where the school holiday programs were held. The restaurant is adjacent to the space and the glass windows have a spectacular view.

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