On Friday we picked up our visitors Sharon Louden, Vinson Valega, Hrag Vartanian, Veken Gueyikian and Gina Fairley from Brisbane airport, then home via a pit stop to check out the roos on the way back to Toowoomba. The night was spent sharing a meal together with non stop conversations about the idea of the artist as a culture producer. The following morning we invited artists from our community to join us for breakfast and meet out visitors then on the Toowoomba library for the Artist As Culture Producer book launch.
The launch was welcomed by Federal member for parliament Dr John McVeigh and MC’d by local councillor Geoff McDonald. Sharon and Hrag discussed different essays by artists taken from the book and the launch ended with discussions from the audience surrounding ideas of the artist and their value as an active and important fabric of all communities. The main theme of the discussion was that the artist needs to create their own opportunities by stepping out of their studios and collaborate with different sectors of the community. Sharon and Hrag fly the flag for the artist to value their time and skills, in turn breaking the age old notion of the poor struggling artist. The event was sponsored by NAVA (National Association of Visual Arts), and it felt good to be able to share the importance of the NAVA pay rates available for Australian artists to incorporate into their arts businesses.
After the book signing we headed back off to Brisbane for a second book launch at Queensland Gallery of Modern Art and then on to a final dinner together in Brisbane’s West End. We miss our visitors already and are super grateful they took the time to join us in regional Queensland. They finish their Australian trip with a visit to Warlukurlangu Artist Run Space in Alice Springs and then home to New York.