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We are a not-for-profit organisation, and rely on government funds, personal and philanthropic donations, and commissions from artwork sales to continue our work. Artists need a space to work, professional guidance, quality materials, and ways to exhibit and sell their artwork. Our inner city studio and gallery exist to nurture and promote artists with an intellectual disability as they develop their body of work.
To be a centre of excellence that supports artists with intellectual disabilities, promoting their work and advocating for inclusion within contemporary art practice. We’ve been promoting the work of artists with an intellectual disability for 37 years, developing our studio and gallery to further artists’ place in society and the art world.
Arts Project Australia supports artists in the studio by:
• Encouraging individual artistic expression and personal style
• Providing high quality materials and a range of media
• Promoting the work as integral to the broad spectrum of contemporary art
• Connecting with other artists, studios and galleries In the early 1970s , the art of people with an intellectual disability was largely unseen or undervalued by society.
Myra Hilgendorf OAM, who founded Arts Project Australia in 1974, insisted their artwork be presented in a professional manner and that artists were accorded the same dignity and respect as their non-disabled peers. Myra’s own experience of more than 20 years caring for her daughter Johanna, an artist with an intellectual disability, led her to pursue quality opportunities and resources for others. She and her colleagues took a major step in bringing the work to the attention of the art world and general public.
Arts Projects Australia promote and exhibit artists’ work as belonging to the broad spectrum of contemporary art, and studio artists are represented in mainstream art exhibitions and events. The conversation between artists with an intellectual disability and the wider community continues. We’ve come a long way since 1974, but there is still much more to do.
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