South Australian arts organisation, Guildhouse, received $16,000 from the Cultural Fund in 2016 to develop and expand The Collections Project.

The program provides artists the opportunity to work with the collections of cultural organisations like the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Flinders University Art Museum and the Botanic Gardens of South Australia to create new work for exhibition.

Artist and jeweller Michelle Kelly was one creator selected for the program. “This was a rare and wonderful opportunity to work with artefacts at the museum, some of which date back 130 years,” Michelle says. Her work drew inspiration from the extensive collection of preserved fungi at the State Herbarium.

“The Collections Project feels like a solid platform from which to leap off, into further research and development of artwork, and new opportunities,” agreed fellow participant Fran Callen. Producing a new series of mixed-media ‘tabletop’ drawings informed by her access to the botanical and zoological engravings and prints at the Flinders University Art Museum, Fran says, “I’ve never felt more nourished, nurtured … and just generally helped, in the process of creating a new body of artwork.”

The exhibitions have drawn interest from potential buyers and, in some cases, have led to future paid work through new connections. Guildhouse Executive Director, Emma Fey says, “The opportunity to access these significant collections and work with the accomplished curators and researchers is invaluable We are so thrilled to have the support of the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund for this important project.”

Two more artists, Heidi Kenyon and James Tylor, will undertake residencies as part of The Collections Project during 2018. The Cultural Fund accepts applications from organisations and individual creators throughout the year.

For further information on application guidelines visit the Cultural Fund page.