Towards a Better Art Paradigm by Anna Hutchcroft

Towards a Better Art Paradigm 

I often think (as many millennials are prone to do) about what it means to live in the age of the internet. I think about how globalisation, in its many forms, seeps into the fabric of my life; or perhaps more accurately – to what extent it comprises the foundation of my life. 

As a person of semi-artistic inclination, I’ve seen first-hand the changing hierarchy of the art world. Art, in the age of the internet, has become more accessible. On the whole, it’s become less centred around the prodigies of Europe and the United States, and more self-governing-more globally egalitarian (though there’s still much work to be done). I take the good with the bad, and this means a tradeoff: Cindy Sherman’s mysterious made-for-Instagram series, as well as Insta-Influencers diversifying their offerings by putting brush to canvas. It’s a jungle out there.

But with many local and regional artists still struggling to expose their art to new audiences and opportunities, this newly-democratised art world is ironically not available to all. Living regionally has perks-but it also comes with specific hurdles. 

Regionally, there’s a lack of opportunity for promotion, lack of access to gallery and studio space, and less exposure to funding, callouts, professional development and networking. We’re working with a lot less opportunity than our metropolitan counterparts, and although the Northern Rivers boasts a creatively saturated population, the opportunities and resources available to support this fall short. COVID-19 has only impacted this further. Before you anticipate me going on a tirade that I never intended to go on, let me just say: it’s not about stopping the boats (or should I say Range Rovers). It’s about creating the resources within our communities to see our creatives thrive. 

Art is important – even more so in times of crisis. It nudges us towards new ways of understanding the world, ourselves, and each other. Providing gallery spaces and workshop venues for creatives allows us to democratise the art world by championing and promoting talented artists regardless of their reputation or pedigree. Regional art is often grass roots by nature, and it would be to our credit as a community to nurture art that exists beyond trends. 

Northern Rivers Creative’s mission is to showcase regional artists to global audiences. In organising activations, exhibitions, and promotions, they’re slashing the proverbial red tape of the hypocritical art world and bringing sovereignty back to the artist. Promoting visibility for regional creatives and looking at dynamic, artist-run spaces, next month Northern Rivers Creative will provide Indigenous artists from their directory the opportunity to run workshops at their studio free of charge, with the addition of booking and administrative support as well as a materials fee to assist with workshop facilitation.

In a time when the internet is making the world both bigger and smaller, creatives know the power of art in helping us express ourselves and connect to one another. It’s inspiration and survival all at once, and it matters.

Words by Anna Hutchcroft © 2021