What a year it has been for NAVA! As well as this spiffy new website, we've had success with the artists' tax test case, lobbied government for the removal of 'sedition' from Anti-Terrorism legislation, managed the Indigenous Art Commercial Code of Conduct (which you will be hearing a lot about next year), started administering the RIPE Award for emerging professional artists and developed Ignition for recent graduates plus a bunch of smaller projects and forums! Phew!
So last Wednesday, the staff of NAVA took a well-earned afternoon to have a lovely picnic in the botanical gardens, pat ourselves on the back for all the hard work we've been doing this year, eat some food and pop some of those christmas crackers with hilarious jokes and qualitypresents.
photo: sam wild
Here are some of the rip-snorters from our crackers -
Q: When does a doctor become annoyed?
A: When he is out of patients!
Q: How would you fire Santa?
A: Give him the sack!
secret squirrel from my chircracker
So now the NAVA office is closed until the 2nd January. We hope you all have a fantastic break and look forward to supporting you and the rest of the visual arts sector next year.
With the end of the academic year upon us, art schools are awash with graduating shows and students are heading out into the big wide world of professional art practice. Apart from relief at not having to do an exam for a while and not having to worry about those pesky library fines, the end of the year can also prove a little daunting if you've just finished your degree. That inevitable question of 'now what?' will be on everybody's lips.
Now that it's all over, and you're about to embark on at least 2 months' holiday, bumming around, working full time over Christmas, or whatever the end of the year brings, at some stage we hope you've decided to become a professional artist after all that study.
Here's a few pointers for where to go from here, another list to celebrate all things graduatory:
Lauren's Top 5 Tips for Now You've Left Art School
1. Join NAVA. OK, well, that was an easy one, wasn't it! You knew I was going to say that, but it's true! After the honeymoon period is over, and you realise in March that you can't ask your lecturers all those important questions anymore, NAVA will be there to pick up the pieces. We've got fantastic publications and our website is a great resource, which I also suggest you use.
2. Stay in the scene. When I mean 'stay in the scene', I mean 'stay connected'. Being at art school has given you a variety of people to talk to, about a variety of issues relating to art and other things. It's vital that you continue to generate this in your life-after-art-school. Isolation never really helps a lot of artists... and besides, there's always group shows to participate in! Getting involved in your local artist-run-initiative is a great way to stay in touch, get some exhibition/gallery experience and to gain a deeper understanding of how the Australian visual arts sector works.
3. Organise behind the scenes. Now that you've decided to be a professional artist, you need to act like one behind the scenes as well. This means you need to get an ABN and keep your books in order - one for income, one for expenses, and if this seems over your head, possibly find an accountant or book keeper to do it for you. Organise your business however it works for you, but ensure you treat it like a business, not just as a hobby. As a professional artist, and providing satisfy the requirements of an artist in business, you can offset your artist expenses against your other income, so it's worth your while to take yourself seriously.
4. Think about marketing. You may think marketing is a dirty word, but you may also realise that the artists who have a good reputation don't just 'let the work speak for itself'. Decide the best way for you to market yourself. It may be a website, a great portfolio, a slick CD with all your images on it, a groovy business card/letterhead. Whatever it is, you'll need to start thinking about it, and work out the best way for you to promote the great work you'll be doing.
5 . Keep working. Keep producing work, keep thinking, documenting, writing about it, filling in grant applications, archiving and going to the studio. We know how much 'work' it can actually be (often squeezed in between other kinds of 'work'), but we always encourage you to keep producing your artwork. The more you work at it, the better you will become and the better work you produce, the more we all benefit.
And to mash-up some pop-culture references, may the force be with you and always know where your towel is.
* And just in case you were wondering how much we actually care, this year NAVA has developed a small, but important award to support recent graduates. Chosen by university lecturers on our behalf, Ignition:NAVA Prize for Professional Practice, is given to students who have excelled in their Professional Practice Unit (or something similar) and who will greatly benefit from the information and advice that NAVA has to offer. Winning students this year have received a NAVA membership plus a copy of Money For Visual Artists, which gives you a great start to the kind of opportunities you have as an artist.
With the November round of NAVA's small grants having closed for submission on Wednesday, the NAVA offices have since been a hive of activity.
And so what better time than to give you guys an insight into the process of administering grants with the Top 10 Tips for Applying for NAVA Grants!
1. Read the guidelines. We've had years of developing these guidelines and they're there to help. Everything you need to know will be there and anything you don't need, won't be.
2. Be clear and concise. Although we appreciate that you're passionate about your project and could talk about it for a week, being able to succinctly describe it to someone who has never seen it before is the key. The assessors have a lot of applications to go through and the quicker they understand what you're trying to tell them, the better it is for everyone.
3. Income equals Expenditure. You should cost your project properly so you know what your expenses will be. Income for the project will usually be shown as coming from a number of sources including the grant you are asking for, money and in-kind contributions from others, expected sales or fees etc. if you still have an income shortage but expect the project to go ahead, then the shortfall will be your own personal contribution, and you should note that.
4. Kill two birds with one stone. If you're an artist living in NSW, you can apply for both the Marketing and Visual and Craft Artists Grant Scheme. The funding bodies are different for both grants and each are assessed on their own merit.
5. Know your tax and GST. If you are registered for GST we need a tax invoice to pay you so provide one at the time of applying. You will be applying for the amount of the grant plus GST.
If you are not registered for GST and have an ABN you need to provide us with the ABN so that you will not have tax withheld from the grant.
If you are not registered for GST and you do not have an ABN then you need to either fill in a Statement by a Supplier or pay withholding tax on the grant (remember this is currently 48.5%). Most of our grant applicants in this category would submit a Statement by a Supplier but you may need to get further advice from your accountant or the Australia Taxation Office.
For more information about tax, go to the Advice Centre.
6. Don't panic - Post it. Once you decide to apply, give yourself plenty of time to fill out all the questions, write up all your paperwork and send us in any images, attachments etc if they are asked for. NAVA is a national organisation and we accept that not everyone has access to metro postal services, which is why we accept grants postmarked by the closing date. Which means that you just need to get it in the post box on the day and you'll be OK. This means that an artist in Perth has the same amount of time to prepare the application as someone living in Sydney.
7. All NAVA grants are assessed externally. The small grants are assessed by a different pair of assessors in a different state each round: i.e last round, our lovely assessors were from Tasmania. The Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship, Windmill Scholarship and the Art & Australia/ANZ Private Bank RIPE Award are all assessed by selection panels. This means that it takes time to assess because your projects are all worthwhile. It also means that NAVA staff don't have any influence over the decision. We can only give limited feedback after the grants have been assessed depending on the level of feedback the assessors have, or havent, given us.
8. If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. Just because you aren't successful, doesn't mean your exhibition, project, marketing plan isn't great.
9. If you are successful, dont forget to bank the cheque! And you have to acknowledge the funding as outlined in your letter of offer.
10. Don't forget to tell us all about it! We love to hear how the project went, so after it's all over, download an acquittal form from the site and let us know. Don't forget to include copies of the invitations/web printouts/posters/flyers, etc. so that we have something to look at too.
As well as spending our time informing the arts sector, lobbying on their behalf and supporting our NAVA members, several NAVA staff have been busy outside the office installing their own shows.
Jaki, Lauren and Helena have all been frantically working on separate exhibitions and have all been a part of the veritable instituation called Installation Week.
Installation Week is an anomaly. It has its own time-space continuum and, like Doctor Who's Tardis, will invariably spit you out at the end of the week, blinking wildly, in a whole new time zone.
Sleep becomes arbitrary, caffeine consumption increases (as does nicotine, for those who partake), eating habits usually distort and reflect the take-away cuisine around the gallery. And being able to carry on a conversation that doesn't, in some way, end up reverting back to issues with the work/installation/gallery is severely hampered.
A whole team of zombies gets unleashed on the world during Installation Week, usually only tamed on opening night.
Thankfully, we can happily report that all the girls have returned to the living, relatively unscathed and sporting only a few minor quirks.
Should 'parody' and 'satire' be new exceptions in copyright? This is one of the proposals in the Federal Governments new Copyright Amendment Bill 2006. NAVA has just lodged a brief submission about these important changes to Australian copyright law being considered by a Senate Committee.
After introduction in the House of Representatives, the Bill was referred to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which will report back by 10 November. NAVA and several other peak bodies in the arts and media compared notes on how we would respond on various key issues at a meeting organised by the Australian Copyright Council (ACC). We pretty much agreed with each other.
As part of NAVA's campaign on Freedom of Expression, we have been encouraging NAVA members and users of this site to tell us their stories of self-censorship and censorship by others.
And then today, the latest copy of Eyeline came through the office which includes the fantastic Gertrude Forum about a case of self-censorship that had NAVA, as well as many other parties, involved: The Only Think You Taught Me Was The Only Thing You Know.
A complex story, it begins at the Melbourne Art Fair, 2006. And I had a front row seat to watching it all unfold.
At the Melbourne Art Fair, on the setup day, I was running around like a mad thing, getting supplies to fix a last minute problem with our stand and I came back to find Alexie Glass from Gertrude St and artist Helen Johnson sitting on our chairs, writing me a note. Helen looked quite vexed.
They explained the problem to me, which for the sake of chinese whispers, I'm not going to re-hash, but encourage you all to read about it in the articles both of them have written for the forum in Eyeline. Suffice to say, it brought up issues about copyright law, moral rights and Indigenous communal moral rights and could have ended up being a messy affair if not handled correctly.
After hearing their story, I encouraged them to speak with Arts Law and to speak with Tamara as she would still be in the office.
This kind of conversation was not unusual for me. Having worked on the front desk of NAVA, I've had a few discussions with artists, curators, etc about problems relating to the legality of their work/images and possible action being taken. The nice thing about doing this face to face, was that I could reassure Helen that it would be sorted out and that there would be a solution.
I popped up to see the girls at their stand the next day, to see how their research went and find out whether they were able to get in touch with copyright owners and Indigenous community representatives. Unfortunately, they had and decided that the work in question needed to come down.
This is one of those moments when what seem like small experiences at the time, end up being catalysts for amazing discussion and often great change.
Sad about the outcome, Helen said that she had learnt her lesson about both Copyright Law and Indigenous Protocol the hard way, but at least she had learnt from it. I remember encouraging Helen to write about the experience, so others could also learn from it and am now impressed that it has developed into a printed forum in a widely circulated art mag.
The range of perspectives in the forum article is incredibly informative, unbiased and frank. There is no moderation (unlike a face to face forum), which enables the diversity of experience to shine through and more than anything else, highlighted the absolute need to discuss these issues in open discourse. It features articles by the artists and curators involved, Indigenous artists, other curators as well as the perspective from Arts Law and NAVA.
This case, for want of a better term, highlighted two major issues for artists yet to be resolved legally and obviously yet to be resolved within the arts community. Issues about represenation of Indigenous peoples and customs by non-Indigenous artists and those of 'fair use' of images for those other than review or criticism.
And from these issues, other issues relating to colonialism, stereotype, representation and white-Australia history have also surfaced. And all of these are discussed in the Gertrude Forum in a relatively non-complex way, compared to the complexity of the issues raised.
If you have a chance to grab the current issue of Eyeline (#61), read the Gertrude Forum in there and the girls at Eyeline have put a copy of the forum it up on their website, so feel free to check it out there.
NAVA is pleased to be able to invite you all to the exhibition of the Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship for Emerging Artists.
The exhibition, opening on Wednesday 18th October will feature works by returning scholars from the 2004 Scholarship as well as winners for this year's award, in the Depot Galleries at Danks St, Waterloo.
image: Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy, When the Bulls Fight, the Calves Get Crushed, 2005.
Ply, turf, seedlings, Siddhartha Art Gallery, Barber Mahal Revisited, Kathmandu, Nepal
Courtesy the artists and Gallery Barry Keldoulis
Depot I will display works by 2004 scholars Peter Alwast, Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy, Danielle Hastie, Sarah Jane Pell and Ahn Wells.
image: Lori Kirk, Duck Activator, 2005. Courtesy the artist.
Depot II will show works by the winners of the 2006 Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship: Jade Boyd, Lori Kirk, James Hancock, Astra Howard and Mimi Tong.
Both galleries open on Wednesday 18th October, with the Depot I exhibition continuing until November and Depot II has a limited season until the 21st October so get there quickly! Better yet, come to the opening function on Saturday 21st October @ 3pm, 2 Danks St Waterloo!
See you there!
PS For more information about some of the recent winners, check out the Freedman Travellers blog
As you may know, NAVA has recently renewed its campaign to ensure the right to freedom of expression for the visual arts sector in Australia. We have been lobbying politicians to implement the changes recommended in the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC)s report Fighting Words: Report on Sedition Laws in Australia, to which NAVA has submitted recommendations relating to the visual arts.
There is still room to move. Peter Garrett MP, Labors Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Arts will be speaking from the floor in Parliament during Question Time next Monday 9th October, challenging the Attorney General and the Federal Government over its refusal to implement the changes suggested by the ALRCs report.
He will highlight the restrictive nature of federal Sedition laws by using examples of artists and curators having to self-censor or stop projects due to fear of being charged under these new laws. We are hoping to influence some Liberal Party members to take up the cause.
Here's where you can get involved:
If you have been censored on or self-censored an artwork, project or exhibition due to concern about being charged with Sedition, please let us know URGENTLY and we can show Mr Garrett how vital the changes to the law are for artists and the visual arts sector.
Simply add a comment to this blog with your story.
For more information about the Anti-Sedition Campaign, check out NAVA's Campaign section
If you want to get involved in NAVA's Anti-Sedition Campaign, you can email parliamentarians and show your support for changes to the legislation as recommended by the ALRC.
Copy and paste the following text into an email and send it to the email addresses below. Don't forget to include your full name, suburb and postcode and feel free to add your own personal message.
As a visual arts professional, I place great value on my right to freedom of expression. I therefore urge you to take action to make all the changes to the sedition laws, recommended in the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC)s Fighting Words Report, a Review of Sedition Laws in Australia, including changes to the Criminal Code and Crimes Act.
nicola.roxon.MP@aph.gov.au, Bruce.Baird.MP@aph.gov.au, email@example.com, P.Georgiou.MP@aph.gov.au, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Malcolm.Turnbull.MP@aph.gov.au, Peter.Garrett.MP@aph.gov.au, Ag@Ag.gov.au, Kim.Beazley.MP@aph.gov.au, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, J.Moylan.MP@aph.gov.au, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Monday, NAVA staff, past and present had a bit of a celebration, at our favourite after hours joint, to say hello, goodbye and thanks a bunch.
After many months of hard work in getting this website up and happening, we were able to say thanks a bunch to web develper Gordon Heydon
Unfortunately we also had to say goodbye to NAVA's most bodacious surfin' bird, Therese.
Therese has been the NAVA IT Manager for the last 3 years and we're all sad that she's heading off to greener pastures. Farewell celebrations went late into the night (just past 8pm)! and as you can see, Therse is going to enjoy using her farewell gift.
However, in saying goodbye to Therese, we also got to say hello to Maissa, our new IT girl and we look forward to working with her!