period: Feb – Dec 2017
client: st ives shopping village
project: St.Art Competition
St Ives Shopping Village is a privately owned shopping centre on Sydney’s upper north shore offering locals over 100 specialty stores.
The centre has a 40 year history with the local Ku-Ring-Gai Art Society who, without a dedicated space of their own, have displayed their three annual exhibitions at the centre during this time.
In 2014 the centre underwent renovations that impacted on the space that the art society normally used for their exhibitions and, to maintain their ongoing commitment to the society and local art, the owners created a dedicated art gallery space.
Having hosted several of the Ku-Ring-Gai Art Society exhbitions in the new gallery space and received positive feedback from the customers in the centre, the client wanted to leverage this space and fill it with community art for the whole year rather than simply exhibiting artworks three times a year.
Our brief was to liaise with the art teachers at local schools to look at ways that we could energise the space with up and coming artistic talent.
While the original brief was a simple case of community engagement through direct contact, our process with this project was to look bigger picture and, rather than just showcasing the existing work of local students, create something that the centre could own and develop.
In addition to organising school exhibitions and curating a Year 12 Major Works exhibition, we created a new art competition called St.Art, open to local students from Year 5 to Year12. The competition ran three times in its inaugural year with each exhibition being created to a particular theme. The art was judged by representatives of the Ku-Ring-Gai Art Society and the first three place winners from each age category were exhibited at the end of the year to find an overall winner.
- developed connections with local art teachers and coordinated individual school exhibitions
- curated an end of year Major Works Exhibition from HSC students at local schools
- developed a new art competition, St.Art, incorporating three exhibitions with a specific theme and a winners exhibition to determine an overall winner
- contacted local press to generate both awareness and interest in entering the competition
Our combination of liaising with local art teachers, curating the Year 12 Major Works exhibition and developing the St.Art competition meant that the gallery was full for the whole year, excluding the week ahead of each Ku-Ring-Gai Art Society exhibition, which were deliberately left empty to create a divide between students and professionals.
- eight local school exhibitions organised
- year 12 major works exhibition curated
- over 100 artworks entered into the inaugural St.Art competition
- coverage in the local press
- presentation by local councillor to the winners
“I had two main aims with this project, to fill the gallery and to engage the local community and I’m really pleased with the results.
The Gallery looks amazing all year round and the feedback that we’ve had from the visitors to the centre has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve even heard about complete strangers chatting about a particular artwork and then going to have coffee together. That’s community!
The Underground Communications team understood the brief and have delivered exactly what I wanted for this project. We’re looking forward to growing our art initiatives with them in the coming years.”
Melanie Scarf, Marketing Manager, St Ives Shopping Village