Our inaugural exhibition, Between the Lines, is currently in full swing. It features the works of 19 Open Canvas artists and the response has been overwhelming.
After The Age, SBS and Radio National featured articles on Open Canvas and the artists, we’ve had lots of people keen to see the exhibition and how Open Canvas empowers artists who have experienced homelessness, a disability, addiction and other adversities.
A fantastic crowd attended the opening night and it was really special to see the artists shining bright, their art up in lights and being appreciated by a big audience. It was also pure joy seeing the look on their faces when some of their art sold – art they created with their own two hands. The vibe in the room was fantastic, with the crowd excited by the quality of art and moved by the artists’ personal stories.
For some of the artists, just making it to the gallery was a story of determination and courage. A really lovely aspect of the launch was seeing the Open Canvas artists meet and appreciate each other’s art.
For Open Canvas, it has confirmed the empowering nature of an exhibition. Being acknowledged, being able to tell their stories, and having their art valued is a very powerful experience. Importantly, the artists have a renewed sense of confidence in their artistic abilities and future opportunities in this regard.
If you have the time, we’d love to see you there before the exhibition closes on 18 February. It’s at fortyfivedownstairs (45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne). There’s still some art that hasn’t sold but it’s going fast, from paintings to pottery and other merchandise such as tea towels and greeting cards.
We’re extremely grateful to the many people who helped us put on the exhibition. We thank all the donors who contributed to our crowdfund campaign, which helped us raise over $5000 to help fund gallery hire costs, purchasing frames and other expenses. Our principal sponsors, WithOneBean Coffee and Rose and Dave Rath were incredibly generous in this regard.
Felicity Hayward, an artist and skilled framer, was very kind to help us frame many of the pieces, giving up several weekends and much, much more of her time and energy! We’re chuffed that Felicity is collaborating more closely with us, not just with framing but with many more things in the pipeline.
C&J printing and Frankie and Swiss helped us to print merchandise. James Sampson (Change the Vibe Photography) and James Labagala took some beautiful photos of the night (some of which are below). Alexis Cook kindly offered to take a video of the night, which we’ll put on the website soon.
Lastly, but most of all, my incredible partner, Jess Rath, for all the late nights, positivity, energy, relentless hard work, and love!