Jade has completed two Masters in Arts Curatorship at the University of Melbourne and Graphic Communication at RMIT in Melbourne. She is based in Melbourne and has worked in the arts for ten years in a range of festivals, galleries and Museums.
Period as WTS Coordinator: 2008-2009
Why did you apply for the Coordinator position originally? Was it what you expected?
I am originally from Alice Springs and was visiting my family over my university holidays. I heard about the role though a past WTS staff member and dropped in to Red Hot Arts to pick up an application form if only to read what kind of work the role would entail. I met some members of the board and they (without knowing) made me feel brave enough to apply. I was 22 and moved back to Alice Springs within a week and had no expectations and very little experience. It was wonderful that the Board took a chance on me!
How did you find working at WTS? Was it different from arts organisations you had/have since worked for?
It was very different than anything I have done since and I still think very fondly of that time. People had a strong work ethic but also saw each other socially so there was a sense of working with your family. I felt empowered to have and execute my own ideas because there was a sense of openness and most of all, people were not precious; this is an invaluable trait in the Arts.
What were some of your fondest memories at WTS?
Within my first few weeks beginning in the role, we opened the outdoor entertainment space and had a fabulous and crazy Christmas party. My Mum sewed tutu’s for everyone and it was a joint effort by all to make it a success. I smoked my first (and only) cigarette with Dan Murphy and had the best time. In general, I am very proud of the exhibitions we had over that year; the opening of Andrew Moynihan’s Lava Lava was a particular highlight. The show was executed flawlessly and the artwork was simple, yet accomplished. The show sold out and was one of the openings where everything was perfect. Lastly, meeting and working with Pam Lofts was very special.
Tell us about your greatest achievements during your time as the Coordinator.
I cleaned out and painted the studio spaces and offices, a very big job which I felt it made a difference to the space. I curated a series of events entitled Four Spaces: A series of art, dialogue, music and film happenings which were well attended and created some interesting conversations around different artforms. I also made sure every artist was paid for every project we did that year. The year 2008 was when the Regional Arts Australia Conference came to Alice Springs; it was fantastic to be a delegate for the conference and am ambassador for Watch This Space.
In your eyes, what makes WTS an important organisation?
It is so important to have ARI’s like Watch This Space in regional Australia that have that quality and calibre of artists and arts workers supporting them. Specifically in Alice Springs, it is vital part of the Arts Industry because it bridges the gap between exhibiting in a commercial gallery or Araluen Arts Centre; it is the best middle ground. Watch This Space is also a fantastic place for interstate and overseas artists to connect into. Alice Springs is such a special space; all artist and arts workers would gain something invaluable in coming to meet the community behind Watch This Space and spend some time in Centre of Australia.
Where are you now: geographically, work-wise, life-wise?
I live in Melbourne and am the Exhibitions Coordinator for a city council, in this role I co-curate the local Museum and curate three gallery spaces within multi-disciplinary art centres. I also do regular freelance project work; an example of this was last year I was the Exhibitions Curator for the Gertrude Projection Festival and curated a solo show at Craft Victoria.
Has WTS contributed to where you are now?
I learnt invaluable things in that role, I come to Alice Springs regularly to see family and still follow all the artist’s and their work that I met over that time. I learnt quickly how much energy it takes to keep an ARI alive and thriving. There didn’t seem to be political or bureaucratic rhetoric which in retrospective is refreshing. People are genuinely inclusive and understand it makes for better programs and exhibitions. I believe I have taken these traits with me in my current roles; I hope that I am honest, hard-working and authentically communicative.
Watch This Space as an acrostic poem...
This interview is part of WTS's 2018 program Still Alive After 25 celebrating its 25th Anniversary. Read more interviews with past and current WTS coordinators here.