As a part of Flying Arts Alliance’s ‘By Request’ portfolio of services, the Curator by Request program allows regional galleries, schools, and community groups access to curatorial assistance. The program was created in response to the call for curatorial expertise and training outside of metropolitan centres.
The fundamental goal of the program is to overcome the negative impacts of regional isolation by aiming to further develop and refine visual arts projects and services across regional and remote Queensland. This is achieved by curators assisting in the design, development and installation of exhibitions and through capacity building by mentoring local art groups, galleries, and volunteers in best practice.
Working in collaboration with Western Downs Council staff and local Arts Council representatives, highly regarded curator, Lisa Beilby, was recently involved in the Curator By Request program at Gallery 107, Dalby starting in July and commencing in September 2017. Curating ON SHOW: The Western Downs Regional Artists Exhibition that was display across the region’s three galleries: Dogwood Crossing, Miles, Gallery 107, Dalby and Lapunyah Art Gallery, Chinchilla. Beilby’s high level of experience proved invaluable when overcoming the challenges of working in a regional environment.
“Regional artists, gallery volunteers and staff are subject to different pressures,” Beilby says. “Challenges are multiple – levels of experience and expertise vary wildly…and delivery must be flexible depending on circumstances and participants life and work profiles, even attendance commitments.”
Lisa has also curated similar projects and provided up-skilling workshops in Roma, Longreach and Barcaldine. Topics covered in these workshops include: exhibition concept, development, funding, partnering, working with artists, exhibition proposals, selecting works to suit your vision, venue issues, logistics, timeline, freight, budget, contracts, copyright, ethics, handling, crates and conservation, condition reporting, installation design, labels, catalogue, online, marketing & promotion.
Beilby’s past experience as an artist means she understands the needs and the mindset of artists when curating and planning an exhibition.
“I have been a practicing artist… I apply this set of skills to exhibition design, mentoring and teaching others in their arts practise, producing and curating across the performing and visual arts, and arts management.”
Whilst there are notable differences between artists and curators, Beilby says there is a unique overlap of skills between the two professions.
“Curating requires a different mind-set and the ability to step-away from ones work and to view art with a different eye, guided by a specific curatorial logic for example. This can be a challenge for artists because of the intimacy of art making, but also for a curator, as they can only make good projects with an intimate understanding of art making in mind I think.”
Whilst significantly adding value to the Curator by Request program, Lisa Bielby’s involvement has also helped to build her own professional skillset.
“Working in this program has built upon experience and ideas I already bring to the job from past roles in collaborating with regional galleries and their communities.”