Supporting and promoting Far North Queensland artists

Organisation: Cairns Regional Gallery

Project: Community Exhibitions Program (2015-2019)

Amount: $50,000

Year of grant: 2014

Since 2010, The John Villiers Trust has been the major supporter of the Loft Emerging Artist Program (LEAP), providing funds to specifically support and promote the work of emerging artists of the region.

This has enabled over 32 artists to extend their art practice, explore exhibition concepts and utilise professional museum display techniques and to promote their art to a wider public.

In 2013 the Gallery strengthened the program’s strategic objectives which are to promote excellence and equitable exhibition access to the diverse range of regional arts practitioners in Far North Queensland.

In 2014, The John Villiers Trust committed a grant of $50,000 to fund a further five years of annual support of $10,000 for the re-named Community Exhibition Program (2015-2019).

The key strategies of the program are to:

  • Provide professional and career development opportunities for the region’s creative practitioners through programs and commercial activities at the Gallery, offsite and online.
  • Form alliances with other professional and industry bodies to develop collaborative programs and to host events and to work to support the industry/audience dialogue.
  • Contribute to improving the quality of regional product by conducting critical peer review, pursuing current best practice industry initiatives and providing professional guidance and mentoring to creative practitioners in the production of work for exhibition or retail.
  • Act as a catalyst for promoting innovation through creative-industry collaborations and partnerships which bring together artists, industry professionals, students and the public to explore and experiment across a broad range of art and cultural content.

“The opportunity to be involved in the LEAP program early not only gave me greater exposure to a larger audience but also gave me an opportunity to engage with a professional gallery. Working closely with the curatorial, marketing, shop and programming teams gave me both the experience and confidence to approach other galleries and organisations to exhibit my work.

“As a result, I have been able to secure a number of shows, both locally and interstate. LEAP helped extend my profile and enabled me to view both my work and my practice from a more professional viewpoint.”  Ricky Beresford, artist.

(Featured image: Tari Sagigi, Waiting to come home, 2011. Two colour plate etching and embossing. Image: Cairns Regional Gallery)