Art Centre Manager’s Report 2016

I was appointed to the position of Art Centre Manager of the Ceduna Aboriginal Arts and Culture Centre (CAACC) on March 21, 2016. During my short period of time coordinating the art centre I have been facing many challenges not only for myself, but for employees and artists. We have collectively sought to meet these challenges through regular team meetings and open conversation, artist meetings and developing partnerships with Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation (CAC) and the wider community such as schools, children centres, the District Council of Ceduna and some Indigenous service providers.

The CAACC staff and artists, and CAC management, met with key stakeholders such as Arts SA, Ananguku Arts and Country Arts SA on 16 March 2016 in Ceduna. As the new Art Centre Manager I participated in this meeting and commenced employment immediately after. The one day stakeholders workshop aimed to bring together key stakeholders to discuss and shape the future strategy of the arts centre. Another aim identified by artists and staff is to offer a safe community space where people can meet, practice creative activities and nurture their sense of wellbeing and identity. This stakeholders meeting also guided the drafting of the art centre’s strategic and business plan.

During the first two weeks at the arts centre all in-house managerial, operational and marketing systems were reviewed. In a short period of time improvements were achieved by the arts centre’s staff team and the CAC works team. We worked on improving the arts centre’s entrance area by renovating the outside murals and laying a new lawn. Additionally we upgraded the gallery space, arts display systems, implemented in-house financial systems and budget controls, a stock room and materials/workroom stock controls. This has led to an increase in sales and strengthening of the budget position. We also upgraded facilities and implemented safety measures in the framing centre, completed outstanding projects and project reports, while we planned and applied for project funding for projects in the upcoming year. These improvements were possible due to motivated staff who focussed on improving systems and activity outcomes.

The art centre addressed its international marketing strategy through the display of Jidirah the Whale – the artefact that was created during the 2014 Marine Debris and Ghost Nets Project – in Monaco from April to September 2016.
This activity raised international interest in the artists and the CAACC, and was supported by one of the previous art centre’s coordinators, Pam Diment, who travelled to Monaco in March to assist with curating the exhibition. The art centre is currently negotiating with Jenny Campbell to host an exhibition in Norway.

The national and state wide marketing strategy was addressed by the art centre’s GaRa Mirnaarda Exhibition at the Port Augusta Cultural Centre – Yarta Purtli and participation in the Malka Art Prize at the same gallery during June and July 2016. The local marketing strategy included hosting the GaRa Mirnaarda Exhibition at the Ceduna Memorial Hall during May 2016, showing the work of at least 25 artists. Five reviews about the art centre’s artists and activities were published in the Ceduna Sentinel between April and June 2016, while another article of the CAACC stakeholders workshop was posted on the Country Arts SA website, generating interest in, and appreciation for, the Ceduna artists.

The art centre provides space to 18 in-house artists while it supports another 118 artists to sell their work via the gallery and website. CAACC artists were also involved in community cultural development (CCD) activities that offered new economic opportunities to at least seven artists and five staff members. The website has been developed to improve opportunities for sales. The increased website sales prove that this strategy is effective and, as a result, additional development of the website and web shop will be implemented in July 2016. The art centre’s annual sales target has also been achieved.

Exciting projects were hosted by CAACC during May and June 2016. Four artists, Joylene Haynes, Estelle Miller, Sherrie Jones and Jaime Newchurch were involved in the development of an art footpath for the Ceduna District Council at the Ceduna foreshore area. CAACC artists and the wider Ceduna community also received the opportunity to develop and extend their painting practices through the Henry Jock Walker action painting workshop hosted at the centre in partnership with Country Arts SA. An exciting year lies ahead with several development and cultural exchange projects planned in partnership with international artists and cultural partners.

Melanie Sarantou
Art Centre Manager