There’s a misconception out there that those in the arts world are hard to contact; whilst constantly creating, discovering the world and undertaking every experience they can, responding to an email falls down on their list of things to do. But for Courtney Ward, while her passion for life is running high, she still has time to type a friendly response – albeit it while she was trekking the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.
Courtney has just recently been announced as the new curator for 2014 at Courthouse ARTS, taking over from Stacey Williams’s diverse year.
When you first meet Courtney Ward there’s something so captivating about the way she presents herself and her passion for the arts world that you can’t help but give her your undivided attention. Though she is relatively new to the curating world, Courtney still has a firm grasp on the things she loves, and is clearly doing it for the right reasons.
“I love being able to showcase real people’s talent; seeing the artwork in its raw form before it’s hung. But above all, witnessing the pride an artist has on opening night,” she says.
“When all the stress falls away, you see their beaming smile and know that they finally recognise what they’ve accomplished. It’s a gratifying thing to witness!”
While Courtney may love observing an artist’s emotional exhibition journey, she has also been on the receiving end, after exhibiting at Courthouse ARTS early last year.
Originally from a florist background, Courtney often injects her love of flora and fauna into her digital and illustrative artworks. “I’m constantly inspired by everyday experiences. I have a tendency to adapt and mimic a variety of elements from different artists, then practise the techniques to see what I’m most comfortable with,” Courtney says.
“Right now, I’ve delved into the world of digital collage, simply because it’s the medium that has enabled me to accurately depict what I see in my mind.”
But Courtney wasn’t always the creative type. Presents to her family members were often an indication of this, and her love for art was only realised during her teen years. “High school helped me recognise my love for the arts. When there was a choice between science and drama I chose drama, no matter how inept my theatrical abilities were,” Courtney says.
Since realising her passions Courtney has gone on to curate some great exhibitions and some wonderful artworks. Her most satisfying experience was being a part of the PEEL Your Eyes exhibition at the old Dimmeys building in 2011.
“As a child I spent so much time sifting through bargain underwear bins there, and seeing the place completely transformed was so inspiring. The space morphed into this massive artistic labyrinth, which was so refreshing and affirming for the Geelong arts community,” she says.
The exhibition was immensely popular in Geelong, and Courtney’s plan for Courthouse ARTS will follow a similar method.
Courtney plans to showcase a series of exhibitions throughout the year where engagement and entertainment are pertinent, and that everyone can enjoy. “Art exhibitions don’t have to remain reserved for ‘arty folk’. Anyone can – and should – enjoy them,” she says.
While Courtney may still be exploring the surroundings in Sydney, she’s happy to come home. The experience may have changed her, but it’s also helped reaffirm her passion for Geelong.
“I’m very proud to be from Geelong, and I’m even prouder of the artists that reside here. Our art scene will only get stronger with the next generation of talent, and I’m looking forward to being around to witness it,” Courtney says.
Written by Amanda Sherring