Earlier this year Access Arts approached Flying Arts Alliance to coordinate a project to find a mentor for Bert Smallwood, a talented Aboriginal painter. The aim of the project was to assist to tailor a professional development program for Bert to develop his artistic profile and business skills as an artist, and through this endeavour to improve the artist’s overall social and emotional well-being.
Flying Arts’ facilitator, and respected arts professional, John Armstrong worked with Bert Smallwood for 6 months on a number of professional development areas as well as providing guidance on his artistic practice. Over many meetings, email exchanges, visits to galleries, talks with colleagues in the sector and checking out art schools, Bert gained a new appreciation and understanding of what future directions are possible.
Some words from Bert sum up the effectiveness of the program:
- “This was a great experience and helped me realise what to do with my art in the future and the way it fits into my life and culture.”
- “The tax and marketing information was good and I hope I can now work in a proppa way.”
- “Overall I got lots of good information from the webinars and the many conversations with John.”
- “I know that this last couple of months has helped me push my work and develop new ways of telling the old stories.”
- “Personally, John has been really supportive through some tough times with me and I really appreciate that a lot as he has given me a new perspective on my troubles.”
- “I’m going to apply for the QCA CAIA course at South Bank for 2018 as I think that structure will be good for me.”
- “I’ve got lots of new ideas for art – drawings and designs and maybe some carvings as well.”
A nice way to finish off 2017!