3004 Magazine - Cover Story - Art Technology and Community
A sense of community and passion for the arts are two elements that define the St Kilda Road precinct. Community and art have also forged an important connection in the New Art Awards, a collaborative initiative between The Melbourne Design Awards, with its office at 620 St Kilda Road, St Kilda Youth Service (SKYS) and the Temporary Gallery.
The brains behind the New Art Awards are Erik Rathmayr (aka Erik the Viking) and Robin van Kuijk (aka Robin the Robot), co-founders of the groundbreaking Temporary Gallery, and Mark Bergin, the creator of the Melbourne Design Awards, launched in 2010.
Temporary Gallery explores new ways to engage artists by utilising new technology to reach a broader audience. Essentially a social media playground for artists, art lovers and anybody involved in the industry, Temporary Gallery is a fantastic marketing tool for emerging artists to showcase their work, and for industry types to spread the word about their projects.
Endorsing creative expression and facilitating networks are the cornerstone of Temporary Gallery, which itself is not a technology, but an audience where artists are free to showcase their work in a digital format at no cost.
The difference between the online world of Temporary Gallery and revered institutions such as St Kilda Road/s own National Gallery of Victoria and the Ian Potter, is that rather than curators selecting what we will see, everybody can contribute to generating content. “Feedback is instantaneous, uncensored and constantly changing, whether it’s good or bad.” Said Erik.
The New Art Awards function in a similar way, with feedback invited from the community. The awards feature a Struggling Artist category, which relates to disadvantaged young people engaged with SKYS or similar social service organisations. “it’s a way of engaging young people who struggle with various dilemmas, to give them the opportunity, to encourage them. We seek to motivate students with our media platform to participate and to showcase their talents” says Robin.
As Creative Director of EventOFFICE, Mark Bergin (the third talent behind the New Art Awards) brings a wealth of experience to the New Art Awards. “Mark has over two decades of awards program expertise. As with any project, it often isn’t the big stuff that becomes an issue, it’s the small stuff. Having Mark on board means we’ve been able to get the awards launched, and we can leverage the management expertise from an awards expert’ said Erik.
The involvement of SKYS adds another level of interest to the collaboration, bringing with it an important 30-year history as a youth agency, responding to the needs of young people in our precinct. “SKYS maintains a flexible and innovative approach to alleviating the effects of poverty, discrimination and stress in young people’s lives. It’s often the only constant in some very chaotic lives. SKYS is a proud innovative, entrepreneurial organisation that specialises in developing a deep understanding of youth culture, and the most extensive and historic provider of its kind in the St Kilda area” said Robin.
To Enter the New Art Awards head to: www.newartawards.com.au.
Entries to the SKYS Struggling Artist Award must be referred or entered by a school, not-for-profit or welfare organistaion.