#BallaArt: the Under-30s Art Gallery of Ballarat Group
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#BallaArt: the Under-30s Art Gallery of Ballarat Group

Art isn’t subjective on age, it’s for everyone. And making sure that’s true is Morag McCann, one of the people making young people (those aged 18-30) reconnect with the gallery through a series of fun activities.

Hi Morag, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte, how are you and what are you up to at the moment?

Hi Forte, I am excited to chat about this project. I am just about to start my Honours in Creative Arts (Printmaking) at Federation University. I have spent the week getting my studio set up, drawing and mixing up some Saline etch in the Printmaking Studio.

First things first, are you able to fill our readers in on what #BallaArt, the Under-30s group, is all about? 

Okay, it is about connecting young creative people with one another and with the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Our aim is to organise events that create an inviting space for young people interested in art. There is a central social component but we are also interested in helping people enhance their artistic skills and appreciation by connecting them with some amazing local artists.
 
What sparked the idea to start it at the Art Gallery of Ballarat?

The idea emerged out of a series of conversations that Barry Weymss (President of the Art Gallery of Ballarat Association) had with Alyssa Britnall who is exhibiting in Next Gen 2016. They were excited by the prospect of increasing art focused events specifically for young people in Ballarat. I was drawn to this project because I am inspired by other artists and feel that this will be able to increase the connection that people have with the broader artistic community; artists as well as those who love encountering art. 

A lot of people have the misconception that galleries are simply for more mature demographics, what do you think about this idea?

I think it is a bit of a misconception that people have. I don’t really relate to this because I have developed a strong link, particularly with the AGB. It is a bit of a sanctuary for me. Perhaps I am in the minority! But I get that gallery spaces can be a bit imposing for some people for various reasons. Perhaps #BallaArt can help on this point.

Can you think of any great memories you’ve had at a gallery during your 18-30 years? 

Yes! It is quite hard to narrow this down actually. A recent memory was from last year at Parallel Prints exhibition at the AGB where I met Deborah Klein. Deborah is an Australian printmaker that I deeply admire and I was blown away by how nice and down to earth she was. She asked about my practice and we got into a conversation about decluttering artworks. 

And how do you like to connect with the gallery?
 
I like to go and visit my favourite pieces in the permanent collection and just sit with them. I love going to the new exhibitions because I am always pushed in new directions and learn new things that impact my own artworks and life in general. I also like using the openings as a means to socialise because I find there are a lot of interesting and weird people (me included) and there is always a fascinating conversation to be had.

With #BallaArt we saw there are chances to learn skills, with a drawing lesson recently scheduled, what else can the group look forward to? 

The group can look forward to workshops with other interesting and established local artists (jewellery making, stencil art, etc), themed parties, and social events that support the opening of new exhibitions. Last year the Art Gallery of Ballarat Association threw a Bohemia themed party to coincide with the Archibald Prize exhibit and this was a great night. We would like to do something similar for #BallaArt that appeals to a younger audience.  

What do you think would be the main signs for a successful time with #BallaArt? 

We would like to see a mix of young local artists, students, and anyone with creative interests come along with their ideas and support the amazing exhibits the gallery brings to Ballarat. If we can get a diverse range of voices with good ideas and passion I think this would nurture a vibrant creative local community. 

How can people get involved?

Become a member, come to our events and lend us your voice! 

Thanks again for chatting with us, is there anything else you’d like to add?

No problem. I would add that the more that I learn about the Art Gallery of Ballarat the more I realise what an awesome gallery it really is. There are so many talented people that contribute to this being one of the best regional galleries in Victoria and I am in awe of what they can make happen. 

Just join the Gallery Association to receive all the benefits of GalleryMembership AND join in some great activities for the Under 30s group, #BallaArt. You can do so (and find more information) via the website www.artgalleryofballarat.com.au.

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