The 'Art Group Fellowship' at the Canberra Glassworks directly supports artists by allowing them to explore and evolve their work, with full access to the world class facilities.
Art serves a larger purpose to a city than entertainment. Artists make a huge contribution in creating the personality of a city by driving the culture. They bring us together to support and celebrate new ideas. What is a city without live music, signature dishes, interesting buildings and places to go?
It is vital for the health of a vibrant city to keep our artists here, keep them creating, and keep them inspiring us. That is why Art Group see such value in investing in the arts.
Canberra is lucky to be home to so much art, both in our galleries and museums, and placed around the city. Art provides interest and colour to our city centres, draws in tourists and ignites our imagination with exhibitions and shows.
The Canberra Glassworks has helped our capital forge a name for itself in the international glassworks stage. Yet the studios require resources ? in materials, time and studios. Art Group's fellowship sponsors an artist with generous parameters, allowing unlimited access to the equipment, studio and a stipend for materials.
Harriet Schwarzrock was a 2017 benefactor of the fellowship. The renowned glass artist uses organic shapes to experiment with opposites such as soft and hard, smooth and rough.
'I'm always trying to find balance.
Those extremes of movement and stillness.'
Her inspiration has led her to create exquisite glass hearts. The Art Group fellowship provided Harriet with access to the incredible Glassworks studio to prepare for an exhibition as part of the Enlighten Festival. The work featured 60 beautiful glass hearts, each representing a resting heartbeat. The really special feature was the how it interacted with the public. A new process honed through her fellowship allowed Harriet to play with gases like neon. The hearts not only glow, but they respond to human touch. It provided the rare opportunity for the audience to physically interact with art.
Harriet feels the fellowship allowed her to push herself, to fail and to make new discoveries. Working with gas was a new concept and required a lot of trial and error and her time at the glassworks allowed her to take risks, 'it was a very generous opportunity for an artist.'
Art grants of this value are notoriously difficult to gain due to sheer national competition; in sponsoring exceptional artists in Canberra, Art Group are contributing to the local culture and drawing international attention to the city.
'It's really important for the glassworks to have support to help fund them because the art's funding scene is so precarious. I think it's very meaningful from the artist's end.'
Harriet believes the Art fellowship creates an excellent potential for the city, 'I think it has a lot of possibilities as there are lots of different aspects and ways of working with the material. Hopefully it creates a dialogue about the potential of art.'