Artists looking for mentorship in exhibition development should take note of the HeadstART emerging artist exhibition grant.
Talking Threads and Weswal Gallery have joined forces to create an exciting opportunity for emerging artists from across the region who are passionate about their work.
HeadstArt is a visual arts program, designed to nurture and support two artists each year by providing them with a grant of $2000 to create a body of work over a 12-month period.
The program will culminate in a solo exhibition for the recipients at Weswal Gallery, providing a platform to showcase their work.
"We know there's often barriers towards having an exhibition in terms of costs, so we wanted to create some opportunities in regional towns where sport can often dominate," Ms Honess said.
"When you're not interested in sports it can feel like there's less opportunities.
"We're both artistic - I grew up here and this is the sort of program I wish existed when I was starting out."
Ms Hofman said HeadstART would provide financial support for exhibition-related expenses, such as materials and professional development.
"This financial backing will allow artists to explore their creative ideas by reducing resource constraints - a barrier for many emerging artists looking to make the step towards a solo exhibition," Ms Hofman said.
"Through this opportunity, artists will gain insight into the curatorial process and the logistics of organising a solo exhibition. It will also help artists develop a better understanding of the commercial side of the industry, and prepare them for potential future careers within the arts sector.
"We aim to not only provide financial support, but also a supporting environment that nurtures the artists to explore their own unique perspectives and expression," she said.
The value of opportunity
Ms Hofman said Ms Honess' younger sister, Sophie Honess, was a good example of what can happen when an emerging artist is presented with opportunities in the arts sphere.
"I offered Sophie her first solo show here at Weswal a couple of years ago, and she's since gone on to be included in a major exhibition that is travelling the country, the Tamworth Textile Triennial," she said.
"Sophie is now producing work for the National Gallery of Victoria. All of that was borne from her being given an opportunity - she was provided with a platform from which to launch herself and gain valuable to experience."
Ms Hofman said the hope was the grant could replicate that success for another emerging artist.
"Having $2000 capital to put towards your business - and it is a business when you are an artist - is an incredible opportunity for people to get a head start," she said.
"The recipients will have the chance to hold a small exhibition - a commercial exhibition - here at Weswal Gallery being guided by me - to give them their own platform.
"They'll experience how to approach a gallery and how to approach creating a concise body of work. This would comprise more than six pieces," she said.
Ms Hofman will work with the successful applicants to create the exhibition.
"We want them to be able to produce something they are really happy with - that we're really happy with - and an exhibition that allows me to be flexible in the gallery space allocated for the exhibition.," she said.
"Having that experience helps show other galleries the emerging artist is able to follow through on a project and that in itself helps open more doors."
How to apply
To be eligible for the grant, Ms Honess said artists must not have previously exhibited their work in a solo show.
Applicants must also reside in either the Tamworth, Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains, Walcha, Armidale or Uralla local government areas to ensure that the program benefits the local arts community.
"If you are an emerging artist residing in the eligible areas and are passionate about your artistic practice, we encourage you to apply for this art grant," Ms Honess said.
"Take this opportunity to showcase your talent, gain invaluable experience, and contribute to the vibrant arts community in your region."
Artists have until November 30, 2023 to submit their applications. Instructions on how to apply are available on the Weswal Gallery website.