Moonah’s Old New Artspace



It is interesting that whenever something ‘new’ comes along we are quick to make comparisons. Its hard not to. We also readily interpret the new as yet another ‘overnight success’. I’ve read several articles drawing various comparisons between the new Moonah Arts Centre (MAC) and other artspaces and organisations about the place, and that’s OK, but I kind of like the expression, ‘it is what it is’, because in my experience that is so often the case. The new MAC is definitely one of those places that is what it is.

So what is it?

MAC is Moonah’s Old New Artspace. Its been around the block once or twice and has established itself as a part of the northern suburbs on a number of levels. Why? Because it is a council run space that has evolved with the people for the people for well over 20 years. Old MAC’s space goes back even further, a gift to the community by the then EZ company in the 1920s, one of two halls in fact, the twin being demolished in the 1960s. The remaining building was for some years the local library, a fact that wouldn’t be lost on MAC’s first Arts & Cultural Development Officer.

The new MAC is certainly new, in fact it is state of the art in every way. It is a purpose built artspace, something surprisingly rare in the artworld today. But before I make any comparisons, before I claim that it is a premium space among Hobart’s many and varied artspaces, let’s look again at what it is. It still is a council run space that will continue to evolve with the people and for the people, because that’s what MAC does. The new building itself is no mere architectural wonderspace, it is the result of many months of community consultation. The architects have listened and responded well.

MAC is not an art institution in the traditional sense. It doesn’t collect, conserve and research in an institutional manner. But it will continue to bring local product to local audiences across a multi-arts platform, it will continue to offer affordable workshops for local people to develop their creativity, and it will continue to be a melting pot for the diverse people of the city. For it is the social fabric and cultural tapestry of the City of Glenorchy that is to be valued above any building or institution. Yet, in the case of the new MAC, it is wonderful to witness a building and organisation that is so decidedly dedicated to the people of this city.

Congratulations to all the people that made this happen.


Art About Us

The Art about Us program aims to work with communities through participation in an arts program led by an artist. This program aims to: enhance the wellbeing and development of children through participation in creative activities; develop confidence and ideas for parents to engage creatively with their children; and extend the skills, knowledge and confidence of early years practitioners around facilitating meaningful creative experiences for young children. Each program was based within a selected Child and Family Centres (CFC) that provided support and venue for the program. Staff at the Centre worked closely with the artist. The program supported an artist residency of twenty days.


From Idea to Exhibition

This short film tracks my residency with students at Claremont College, Tasmania, as part of the Tasmanian AIR 2013 program.

For more information about the AIR program visit:

Video produced by MARK & TOM.

This project was assisted through Arts Tasmania by the Minister for the Arts and by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.


Assistance for Individuals


Assistance for Individuals

The Individual Artists program invests in emerging and professional artists by assisting them to take their work to the next level. The program gives  promising and talented artists working in any artform, the opportunity to undertake projects that will enable them to further their careers and enrich their artistic practice.

These projects may involve creative development, exhibiting, recording or producing works, writing and researching creative projects and concepts, market and audience development, professional development and taking advantage of promotional opportunities. Support may also available for travel and living allowance.

Applicants may include actors, arts administrators, choreographers, composers, crafts people, dancers, designers, musicians, playwrights, poets, bands, visual artists and writers, working as individual artists or in partnership.


Emerging & Experimental Arts


Emerging & Experimental Arts

Emerging and Experimental Arts focuses on research and development, creative development and experimentation.

We support artists who are exploring new and emerging art practices through our experimental arts grant programs. We also manage special non-ongoing initiatives such as the Creative Australia New Art program which supports artists to create major new experimental  work. Emerging and Experimental Arts also partners with other boards of the Australia Council to deliver initiatives such as the Indigenous Experimental Art Fund; theHopscotch live art touring initiative; and the recent AlloSphere Artist Residency at the California NanoSystems Institute; virtual art laboratories with the Australian Centre for Virtual Arts (ACVA); We also are delivering one of the key Early Career Artist and Producer Program initiatives – SITUATE Art in Festivals.

Emerging and Experimental Arts arts also supports artists working with professionals from other disciplines, mainly through innovative art/science research collaborations as part of the Synapse initiative. Synapse provides Australia Council funding for successful applications to the Australian Research Council. The Synapse initiative allows artists to spend significant periods of time in scientific organisations and institutions to develop work in collaboration with scientists.

Artists working in this field are supported primarily through their own contacts and networks in their particular interest area. There is a strong connection between artists working in experimental contexts and practice-based research programs in universities, as well as strong international links.

A key event on the experimental arts calender this year is ISEA (International Symposium of Electronic Art) in Sydney in 2013. The Australia Council is a primary funder of the public program of this event.

Read more about Emerging and Experimental Arts and our Sector Plan.

Week 14 at Claremont College

When Should I Get Started, and Why Should I Bother Anyway?

Happiness Project

The Happiness Project was a three year project that involved artists, health and community workers and educators working in collaboration with community members to make 37 beautiful films about what true happiness means to them. Kickstart Arts worked with hundreds of people from Dover, Cygnet and Glenorchy in the south, Oatlands and Levendale in central Tasmania, and Flinders Island in the north to make films exploring happiness. During 2012 these films were screened around the state at Launceston, Glenorchy, Oatlands, Franklin, Flinders Island, Parliament House, Salamanca Lawns and The Glenorchy Works Festival. The films toured in The Happiness Pod; a purpose built mobile solar-powered cinema, complete with bean-bags and geodesic artworks under the banner of the ‘Fabric of Life’.

Well, no time like the present! it may be bleeding obvious, but really, there is no time like the present. You can stare at that blank canvas, look at that box of pencils, buy the materials, set up your studio space, and sit and wait for inspiration, all your life if you want, but you are only really going to become an artist when you start making art. if it is conceptual art, performance art, rubbish art, you still have to do it, no one else is going to do it for you. And this is where we come full circle, back to the beginning…

So many people reckon art today is something anybody could do. Ahh, yes, that may well be true, but YOU didn’t! And I did, and on so many levels that is what will make you an artist. Believe it or not, most people will respect you for it in the end. Some will even be jealous! But only you can bring it about, only you can decide, yes, I’m going to give this art business a go. And a business it is! You can start out slowly, but you can’t really dabble, you really have to give it a proper go.

You may come across people that dabble in this and that, and that’s fine, but ask the when they last exhibited, and you may well get a blank response! Its not about judging, its about seeing yourself as a valuable part of society, and that your art needs to be seen, engaged with, appreciated, even ridiculed. As Francis Bacon famously said, He didn’t care what the response of the viewer was, good or bad, so long as their was a response. You need to make art because the people around you need you to make your art.

Art is an act of intervention. To intervene is to ‘come between so as to prevent or alter a result or course of events’. That is, when you make your art and take it out into the world where it belongs, you will change the people who engage with it. This where the permanence of your work is not relevant, because it is the Art Effect that you want to create, not an Artefact.

See you out there!