Embarking on the “Evolve” Mentoring Programme six months ago, under the skilled guidance of Amy Kennedy, marked a pivotal chapter in my artistic development. This enriching journey was made possible through the Regional Arts Development Funding Program delivered by Moreton Bay City Council, a testament to their commitment to nurturing local artistic talent.

The “Evolve” programme is designed for both seasoned artists and for emerging artists like me, providing an immersive experience into the professional and personal aspects of art. Through twice-weekly writing sessions and group discussions, the programme encouraged deep reflection on the motivations and narratives behind my work, helping to clarify and strengthen my artistic voice. These exercises were crucial in articulating the ‘why’ behind my practice, fostering a clearer understanding of my artistic intentions.

Amy Kennedy, a mentor with exceptional organisational and communication skills, placed a strong emphasis on goal setting. Our one-on-one sessions were dedicated to crafting achievable goals and strategising their realisation. This personalised mentorship was invaluable in refining my artistic practice and aligning it with my career aspirations. Amy’s guidance through sensitive critique and feedback of my work and that of other participants helped fine-tune our artistic outputs to professional standards.

Additionally, the programme facilitated the development of practical skills necessary for a successful art career. This included rewriting my CV and artist statement, exploring effective presentation techniques, and learning how to engage with galleries and other organisations that aligned with my goals. This practical guidance was instrumental in boosting my confidence, culminating in one instance a successful meeting with a gallery owner to discuss potential representation.

The community aspect of the “Evolve” programme was equally transformative. The connections made with fellow artists evolved into a supportive network and friendships that extend beyond professional interactions, enriching my life and work.

The support from Moreton Bay Regional Council through this and previous RADF funding has been crucial, not only for my participation in this mentorship but also for enabling me to give back to the community. My relationship with the council has included my delivery and facilitation of art-based workshops at Morton Bay City libraries. These initiatives have allowed me to contribute to the cultural vitality of Moreton Bay, making art accessible and engaging for the community.

During my time in the “Evolve” programme, I achieved notable recognitions: I was a finalist in the Siliceous Award for Ceramic Excellence, The Flying Arts Regional Art Award (Highly Commended Prize), The Fairholme Open Art Prize, and for the third consecutive year, the exciting and rewarding Moreton Bay Art Prize. These accolades are a reflection of the growth and refinement in my artistic practice fostered by the programme and supported by the council.

Some of the activites undertaken in the Evolve program included:

  • Sharing my work with Amy and the group for sensitive critique and feedback.
  • Goal setting and learning to pivot when required.
  • The benefits of planning and peserverence as a practicing artist.
  • Being made aware through the network of participants of upcoming opportunities.
  • Writing about my practice daily.
  • Submission to art competitions to build my CV.
  • Submission to residency programs in both Australia and overseas.
  • Building strong networks as an artist.
  • Self-confidence and positive self-esteem.

As I continue my artistic journey, I am reminded of the collective effort it takes to nurture creativity. The “Evolve” programme and the council’s support have been instrumental in shaping my career and enabling me to offer back to the community in meaningful ways. For this, I am profoundly grateful, and I look forward to continuing to make art that resonates, inspires, and connects within Moreton Bay and beyond.

In conclusion, the “Evolve” Mentoring Programme, supported by Moreton Bay Regional Council, has been a cornerstone of my recent artistic achievements and personal development. The council’s dedication to fostering the arts has not only enhanced my career but has also significantly contributed to the cultural landscape of Moreton Bay. This blog post serves both as a reflection on my journey through the “Evolve” programme and as an acknowledgment of the council’s ongoing support, for which I am deeply grateful. As I continue to grow and evolve as an artist, I am reminded of the profound impact that thoughtful mentorship and community support can have on an artist’s career.

Facade. 2023. Anna Guthrie. Photography Tony Webdale.