Artists living regionally reap the benefits of working in places they love, often more cheaply than their city colleagues and sometimes closer to family. Communities with artists residing within them are richer places to live for everyone – centres of art creation in their own right. But the most oft-reported disadvantage is the infrequency of collegiate interaction and access to professional learning.
Whilst funding had long been available for artists to support their own development, the formation of Country Arts SA saw specific programs cultivated to bring artists working remotely to wider attention. The absorption of the South Australian Touring Exhibitions Program not only added exhibition touring to our portfolio but also the expertise to stage city exhibitions. At that time unique in a national context, the New Land Gallery opened in 1994 and was a dedicated space in Adelaide (and later in Port Adelaide) for people to see, buy and talk about the works of artists living regionally and for artists to find that much-desired interaction with their city colleagues and alternative audiences for their work.
As the New Land Gallery and its various offshoots outgrew the space, partnerships evolved with Flinders Art Museum, National Wine Centre, SALA Festival, Adelaide City Council, Adelaide Festival Centre and the Art Gallery of SA to broaden the reach much further. For one artist every two years, Breaking Ground brings a high profile and the freedom to test the boundaries with a mentor guiding a new body of work. In 2018 that artist is Chris de Rosa, whose new work will be hosted by the Signal Point Gallery in Goolwa.
Written and researched by Jo Pike for Country Arts SA