ACT News


Support helps artists continue to call Canberra home

More local artists are able to stay and develop their craft in Canberra thanks to a large increase in infrastructure and revenue support.

In 2013, Canberra organisation Craft ACT directed $160,000 to artists, writers and curators through a range of programs, which was a 100 per cent increase since 2011.

Craft ACT executive director Avi Amesbury says Canberra is turning into an exciting place for artists.

''Our projects highlight the talent that we have in Canberra and that talent is now staying in Canberra and not leaving and going to Sydney and Melbourne,'' she said.

''There's a huge groundswell of new innovative designers staying in Canberra.''

The organisation aims to support artists and designers to make their way from early career into fully-fledged professional practice through a range of programs, services and opportunities.


Amesbury says art and design bring a certain excitement to a city, which means Canberra artists don't have to go looking for bigger cities to succeed in their field.

''It brings a soul, it brings an energy, it creates a young environment for young people to stay,'' she said.

''I think that's important for a city - it brings another economical and cultural layer.''

Contemporary metal smith Sean Booth was one of the six winners of Craft ACT's program Centenary of Canberra: A Legacy of Good Design, which gave local artists the opportunity to develop, produce and sell unique memorabilia.

He said the program was a great way to not only contribute to the Canberra centenary, but also increase his audience.

''Since winning, I've had a lot of exposure which has improved beyond the people who already knew me,'' he says.

Booth designed and made a brooch and neckpiece, shaped like the ACT border, which he says added to the intrigue of his product.

''People look at it and think, 'why do I know that shape?''' he says. ''There were people who'd lived here their whole life and didn't know what it was.''

Having worked as a metal smith for more than a decade, Booth says grants and funding are essential for artists.

''One of the challenges of being an artist is surviving. Only a few manage to pull it off as a primary income source,'' he said. ''As an artist you usually have to have multiple income sources to survive.''

Booth said the project not only expanded his profile, but Craft ACT's support had helped him launch the next phase of his career, the development of his label Trifol.