Art Month Sydney is a citywide festival that celebrates contemporary art and artists through a rich and diverse programme of exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions, artists studio visits, tours, precinct nights and more.
The Artistic Director, Barry Keldoulis, talks about the importance of the event.
As the Artistic Director of Art Month, what does your role entail?
As Artistic Director this year I oversee the shape of the festival, and I am keen for the festival to showcase the workings of the artworld; the underbelly as well as the glossy surface. You can visit the museums and the galleries throughout the year to see the finished product, and that is still an important aspect of Art Month, but we also give people an insight into the creative process, be it through artist talks and panel discussion or visits to the studios where the works is made, and even before that, where the artists, often in communal spaces, mull over ideas. I get to participate in some of these discussions and talks, and open exhibitions and generally enthuse about all we have going on in this creative city!
Why do you think something like Art Month is important for Sydney?
In today’s ever more busy environment it’s easy to forget why we like to live in cities; that's because of the massed energy of millions of people they are creative hubs with myriad outlets to stimulate our individual curiosities. Festivals like Art Month allow the community to focus on and be mindful of an aspect that makes a city a great place to be. And they provide a promotional platform to concentrate people’s attention to see the minutiae that otherwise may have gone unnoticed.
Is there a reason March was picked as the month to celebrate art?
You should probably ask the originators of the event, which stated back in 2010, but I suspect it was because March is the beginning of Autumn and the weather is conducive to walking around town. And on a purely practical note, there was no other festival on!
Is there a process when it comes to picking which galleries, events and artists to include in this programme?
Art Month is an open access event, so pretty much all comers are welcome. We like to support awareness of creativity in all its many and varied shapes and forms, citywide.
What are you looking forward to about Art Month Sydney?
Lots and lots of things! The precinct nights, Art At Night, are the kernels from which so much grows. When people follow the trail (or find their own way!) they can see the finished works of art in over a dozen neighbourhood galleries, and perhaps choose which artists they would like to hear more about in a talk or studio visit. The parties at the end of the route are always fun and enlivened with performances and video screenings. I like the studio visits, as it’s interesting to see not only how the individual artists work, but also how they manage to survive in what is now a very expensive city by banding together to make space more affordable.