by Ashleigh Bunter
On a rainy January morning, jaded and sore from a big wet two days at Sunset Sounds, I woke early to meet a guy about the possibility of having a show at Jugglers. I stood out the front of the gallery, the water spilling over the gutters and gushing down the footpath. A man arrived and introduced himself as Peter, the owner of the space.
I explained a little about myself to him and that I had just returned from Woodford, where I voluntarily manage the Indigenous Art Galleries each year. I hadn’t seen his son performing but had survived camping in the deluge.
I had originally contacted the gallery after reading the December e-newsletter which had stated the change in Directors at Jugglers and the opportunity for new groups of artists, musicians and curators to get involved in the programming.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do but knew of some extremely dedicated and talented artists whose work I thought complimented each other and deserved to be shown together.
Peter explained his ideas about making art in Brisbane more accessible and giving people a leg up to achieve something. He generously offered me the wonderful gallery space to use as I wish, free of charge and locked in the dates of my exhibition. This was a first for Jugglers and for me. I returned to Red Hill elated while the rest of the house slept through the rain.
I spent the next few months thinking about the artists I wanted to show and talking to them about their work and thinking about my concept. I found the whole thing a bit daunting when I stopped to consider the amount of work ahead of me. I was working two jobs at the time and hardly finding time to do my washing let alone concentrate on putting an exhibition together.
The good thing was that because I had been given the chance to do something and wanted to do it well; there was no way I could back out. The passion and adrenalin kicked in and with a lot of correspondence, planning and writing everything fell into place.
While I have worked on major International exhibitions, exhibitions in regional galleries, commercial and artist run spaces before, this was the first time that I had instigated and coordinated a project entirely on my own. It was gratifying to work at a local level and show local artists and musicians to new audiences.
This opportunity to curate an exhibition of high calibre emerging artists has been an extremely rewarding experience for me personally and I have learnt a lot about how I will approach independent curatorial projects next time.
So often, young Queenslanders get to the stage where they feel they’ve outgrown this space and migrate south to the bigger cities in search of further opportunities and career development. I believe that initiatives like this provide invaluable opportunities and give beginners a chance. Brisbane is a wonderful place to be right now culturally and affords plenty of freedom and potential.
Great things come from generosity. The Juggler’s 103 Project Experiment has been a immense assistance to me and I hope that the project further enriches the community of Brisbane and others fortunate enough to take part. Thank you to Peter Breen and Jugglers Art Space for the opportunity and experience.