Mai-Wel Creative Arts Professional Development Program was a hit!

Mai-Wel Creative Arts successfully held its first visual arts professional development program, which ran for eight weeks at the local Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG). During the program, artists were immersed in the contemporary art world, inspired by various exhibitions and artists. They observed the curation and installation process within the gallery and utilised the professional studio space.

The program is an opportunity for professional development within a public art gallery space in the community. Artists were mentored to explore traditional and contemporary art practice within MRAG current exhibitions, observe gallery exhibition installation and work within the accessible studio space.

As part of developing their own professional art practice in order to exhibit their works, artists learnt how to develop their ideas and find their own artistic voice, honed in on a chosen medium or explored new ones and also learnt new skills like writing an artist statement to explain the method and meaning behind their work.

Mai-Wel Creative artists developed their own visual language, explored ideas and expanded their professional arts practice. They drew inspiration from their surroundings, drawing upon and responding to various exhibitions, works and spaces within the MRAG to inspire their own works. Just some of the artists who connected with works within the MRAG were Alex, who was inspired by the flowers in the paintings from Margaret Ollie’s portrait collection “Hello – it’s nice to see your face” and Emma, who connected with the use of colour and animals in Helen Hopcroft’s exhibition “The Re-enchantment”.

Participants also experimented and developed their skills through different mediums, including painting and drawing. Alex took the opportunity to add the skill of screen printing to her visual arts knowledge, using it within her works for the program.

On the final day, artists put together a compilation of their selected works to display in the studio space. During this display the group discussed the curatorial process, how each work informed the next and the stories their works told.

Maitland Regional Art Gallery is a source of inspiration and it has been a meaningful experience to develop skills within such a welcoming and inclusive space. A second round of the visual arts professional development program is currently in progress. This time drawing (traditional, on paper, and digital styles) is the focus and there have been exciting discussions around video projection and temporary paper installation for the final exhibition day.

We can’t wait to see what the Creative Arts team has in store for us next!

Pictured (left to right): Stephanie, Alex and Emma exploring the Maitland Regional Art Gallery for inspiration for works of their own.