22 arts anniversaries in 2022

Recapping the milestone moments and anniversaries celebrated by arts organisations in 2022.
Carclew with visitors on the lawn

For the last two years, time has seemingly evaporated. And negotiating the new ‘post-pandemic normal’ this year, many of us have been moving so fast with ‘catch up’, that it has been easy to forget to pause and celebrate our colleagues who have celebrated major milestones and anniversaries.

ArtsHub takes a look back over 2022, to such moments reached by arts organisations, and gives a nod of congratulations.

Iconic journeys 60+

1. Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) marked its 75th birthday in August, as a company that has become home to 74 world-class musicians and today has a first-class concert hall in which to perform.

Read: Celebrating 75 years of fine music making

2. Mosman Art Prize
2022 will be the 75th anniversary edition of the first Mosman Art Prize. It is Australia’s oldest and most prestigious local government art award, and was established in 1947.

3. The Journal of Australian Ceramics
SIXTY was a touring exhibition curated to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Journal of Australian Ceramics (JAC) – the seminal publication that has nurtured generations of Australian ceramicists. It was organised by the Australian Design Centre and travelled to 17 art centres and galleries.

4. Fisher’s Ghost Art Award
The cross-discipline Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, an acquisitive prize organised by Campbelltown City Council (NSW), celebrated its 60th year. The major prize is valued at $60,000 and it coincides with Campbelltown’s annual  Festival of Fisher’s Ghost, which dates back to 1956 and celebrates perhaps Australia’s most famous ghost – Frederick Fisher. 

Who turned 50?

5. Sydney Opera House
Beginning in October 2022, and due to culminate at its 50th birthday in 2023, the Opera House has started celebrating its five decades of creativity. The 50th anniversary season will showcase more than 230 performances, events and experiences.

Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM says: ‘Now, after 50 years of creativity and a decade of renewal, we’re throwing the doors open and inviting everyone to be part of a year-long festival celebrating the building, its history and all forms of contemporary culture.’

6. Purrumpa
Purrumpa was a gathering in October this year – the largest coming together of First Nations arts, artists and arts workers in five decades – to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Aboriginal Arts Board of the Australia Council.

Established back in 1973, Purrumpa was, ‘the first time that an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander board was formed at the federal level to provide advice and direction to the Australian Government on arts and culture,’ Franchesca Cubillo, Australia Council’s Executive Director, First Nations Arts and Culture told ArtsHub in October. 

‘That was really the beginning of elevating First Nations arts and culture at a national and international level, and provided the investment framework to support our remarkable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives,’ she added.

Read: Purrumpa: A 50-year milestone for First Nations arts that looks to the future

7. Papunya Tula  
In March, ArtsHub spoke with Christopher Hodges, one of the first Australian art dealers to represent and champion contemporary Aboriginal artists, reflecting on the anniversary and impact of Papunya Tula artists (colloquially referred to as the Central Desert dot painters).

Read: A catalyst for the Aboriginal art market, Papunya Tula turns 50

8. Sir William Dobell Art Foundation
The Sir William Dobell Art Foundation celebrated 50 years of arts philanthropy this year, with a special event at the Sydney Opera House in October. It has been supporting the arts in NSW since 1972, including commissioning John Olsen’s mural Five Bells for the Sydney Opera House, and funding the Dobell Drawing Prize, which continues to be Australia’s most important prize for drawing.

9. Carclew
Carclew celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, as well as 29 years of First Nations programming for the organisation. It is considered ‘a South Australian institution’, noted current Chair, Rachel Healy, when she spoke to ArtsHub in November. ‘Support for youth arts when it is sustained over a long time, as with Carclew, means that it touches and has touched thousands of lives,’ she said.  

Read: Carclew celebrates 50 years of youth arts in South Australia

Addendum: Canberra Youth Theatre also celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022.

The 40-year anniversaries

10. Melbourne Fringe Festival
Speaking with ArtsHub on the occasion of the Festival’s anniversary, CEO Simon Abrahams said: ‘Melbourne Fringe is celebrating its 40th birthday this year, and it’s made me really examine the model – what works, what needs to change and how, and above everything else how do we make sure we are always amplifying voices and ideas from the margins, while remaining at the absolute centre point of our culture – a fringe of nothing?’

Read: The Fringe of nothing

11. APRA Music Awards
In 2022 the APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association) Music Awards celebrated its 40th anniversary. The annual awards celebrate excellence in contemporary music, and honour the skills of member composers, songwriters and publishers who have achieved outstanding success in sales and airplay performance.

12. National Gallery of Australia
In October, the National Gallery of Australia marked 40 years since the opening of its iconic building with a dynamic program of art and events on-site and on tour, lectures, acquisitions and more. The gallery has significantly rehung a number of its collections to mark this milestone. It has also captured the moment, publishing the book, Vision: Art, Architecture and the National Gallery of Australia, to celebrate the story behind one of the nation’s most remarkable buildings.

Read: Vale 2022: Saluting those we lost this year

The 30+ club

13. Balgo
When it formed 35 years ago in Balgo in the Kimberley, 260 kilometres south of Halls Creek, Warlayirti Arts was the first Indigenous art centre in Western Australia. While much has been made of the 50th anniversary of Papunya Tula this year, this was an equally important milestone for the history of Aboriginal art in Australia.

14. Arts Access Australia
2022 also marked the 30th anniversary of Arts Access Australia, and the 10th anniversary of the first Meeting Place forum, which was held in Melbourne. The peak organisation is responsible for the national, government-funded support and advocacy for arts and disability in Australia.

15. Perth Centre for Photography (PCP)
2022 was Perth Centre for Photography (PCP) 30th anniversary, and it used its annual open-themed photographic art event Collective to celebrate. In 2022, Collective showcased over 100 photographic works by members of PCP, as well as a selection of the works of past PCP exhibitors.

16. JUTE Theatre Company
In February, JUTE Theatre Company kicked off the year by celebrating its 30th year of telling Australian stories with the season opener of Queenslander by local, awarding-winning playwright, Sue Chamberlain.

17. The National Contemporary Jewellery Award
In October, Griffith Regional Art Gallery celebrated 30 years of its flagship exhibition – the National Contemporary Jewellery Award (NCJA), a biennial acquisitive prize that showcases the innovative creations of some of the country’s finest contemporary jewellery practitioners. The Award was founded in 1992 and was originally sponsored by the Sydney Myer Foundation. Today the competition is sponsored by Griffith City Council, and attracts a growing field of entrants from around Australia, representing the cutting edge of contemporary jewellery practice.

18. WOMADelaide
WOMADelaide returned to Adelaide’s Botanic Park for the festival’s 30th anniversary edition in March. The festival, which began in 1992 as one of many global festivals set up by World Of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD), was both one of the last Australian music festivals to run in 2020 before the COVID shutdowns and one of the only festivals in the country to successfully run in 2021.

20 years and beyond club

19. 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
For 25 years, non-profit organisation 4A has been committed to championing the voices of Asian Australian artists and expanding dialogues between Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region. To celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2022, it encouraged supporters to pledge donations based on the number 25.  

20. Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award 
Launched in 2002, the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award is one of Australia’s most significant awards for contemporary photographic practice. In September, an exhibition at HOTA Gallery celebrated its achievements. Since the Award’s inception, 60 works have been acquired by HOTA, resulting in a celebrated collection that reflects shifts in the cultural and social landscape over two decades.

21. The Tom Malone Prize
Australia’s richest prize in glass, the Tom Malone Prize, turned 20 this year. The annual acquisitive prize is presented by the Art Gallery of WA. In celebration of the Prize’s 20th anniversary, this year’s finalist works were shown alongside winning works from the 19 previous years, demonstrating the versatility of glass as a medium.

AGWA Curator Robert Cook said: ‘The Tom Malone Prize has allowed the Gallery to become intimately connected to some of the very best artists at work in this country, many of whom are globally renowned. Over this 20-year period, the Prize has allowed us the privilege to represent major high points of their practice into our permanent Collection. The learning we have undertaken through it has also allowed us to acquire outside the award in a daring and informed way.’ The Prize continues through the support of Foundation Benefactor Sheryl Grimwood. 

22. Adelaide Festival Centre’s inSPACE
Adelaide Festival Centre’s inSPACE Development Program celebrated its 20th anniversary earlier this year. The program provides the unique opportunity to support, encourage and provide invaluable feedback to South Australian independent artists, with works-in-progress shown to an invited audience of arts critics, industry experts and members of the public. The anniversary program ran from January through to October 2022 showcasing a range of genres including dance, theatre, musicals, cabaret and performance art.

Other anniversaries in 2022

ArtsHub would also like to give a nod to:

  • the ABC turning 90 this year
  • the Australian Society of Marine Artists celebrating its 25th anniversary
  • the Art Gallery of South Australia’s Gallery Guides, who are celebrating a milestone 50th anniversary
  • the 30th anniversary of the Cultural Studies Association of Australasia (CSAA)
  • the 10th anniversary of Desert Equinox, which brings Australian and international artists to Broken Hill to present sculptures, installations and performances with an environmental focus
  • Carriageworks celebrating the 50th anniversary of its forming with a program of events earlier this year, and
  • the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT10), which opened at Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art on 4 December 2021 and continues through to April 2022, celebrating its incredible impact.

Read: Charting a region impacted by COVID, we look at the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial

Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina