Museums & Galleries Qld

Roana O’Neill, Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery blogs Day 5 of mentorship at Art Gallery of New South Wales

Posted on: 20 April 2012

On Saturday I headed to AGNSW to attend the Easter School Holiday Program run by the Art Gallery Members Society. These programs are co-ordinated and delivered through the Members Society not through the AGNSW Public Programs or Education staff, with the express purpose of raising funds to acquire works for AGNSW. When people join the Gallery they become automatic members and activities for children are offered once a month, with 11 classes in a year. Families can receive one free workshop if they book their children in for all 11 sessions. Activities are offered for 3 different age groups over an hour and a half with up to 15 children taken in each session.

Activities also differ from the Gallery’s holiday programs for the public in that they focus on works from the permanent collection (with the exception of touring exhibitions such as the recent one on Picasso – which of course was too good an opportunity to pass up).

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In the Kids Club Eat your Art Out activity for 5 – 9 year olds the theme was food in art. Dot, who ran the activity, assisted by volunteer guides showed the children 2 artworks that contained food in them, with the children answering questions about the types of food shown in the works, how old they thought the artwork was and why and a discussion on the size of the objects. Children then headed to the function room which once again acted as the workshop space. Dot provided a short demonstration and discussion on the still life activity the children were going to create. Children then headed to the tables to start their creations. Children drew their own foods with some fruit and vegetables provided on the tables as stimulus, then painted these with watercolours. While these were drying children assembled on a rectangular sheet of paper, wallpaper and flooring, followed by a table, bowls and plates. Once dry their food items were then cut out and arranged on the image and glued down. The whole image was then glued down on a pre-printed frame. The children were very engrossed in what they were creating with each child proudly showing their work to their family at the end of the activity.

I then met up with Nicole in the afternoon and we eagerly headed to Brett Whiteley’s Studio, the warehouse home and workplace of this luminous artist. After taking our photographs with Brett’s signature matchsticks at the entrance to his studio, we met Alec George, Co-ordinator of the Studio inside who suggested we start by watching the 45minute DVD of Brett that was about to start upstairs. We made our way up and for the next 45 minutes were completely absorbed in the documentary where Brett discussed the way he created his work, where he got his ideas and stimulation from and the ever present addictions which were present in his life. It was a fantastic insight into his life. Afterwards we viewed his studio complete with paints, tools, collected objects, wall graffiti, and personal belongings and then headed back downstairs to view works on show (the remainder of Whiteley’s works are held at AGNSW), followed by a discussion with Alec about the Studio. Tours for schools are offered on Thursdays and Fridays with the Studio being open on Saturdays and Sundays to the public. Life drawing classes are run for adults and a program involving Taronga Zoo is run for schools in the Studio, allowing children to observe native animals and draw animals in the style of Whiteley and with the materials he used. We finished the day at the local bakery round the corner from the Studio suggested to us by Alec famous for its food, and true enough there was a queue out the door! The Whiteley Studio was definitely a highlight of the week.

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.

Image captions for blog 5

Still Life

A completed artwork of a Still Life created during a school holiday program at the Art Gallery New South Wales

Holiday Program

A young Gallery member cutting out pictures of painted food for their still life artwork

Alec George

Alec George, Co-ordinator of the Brett Whiteley Studio

Brett Whiteley Studio

The front of the Brett Whiteley Studio showing Whiteley’s signature matchsticks (photography was not allowed inside)

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