We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of New South Wales stands.

Pathways to Practice

Access workshop led by artist Cobie Ann Moore

Cobie Ann Moore facilitating an Access workshop

Pathways to practice project

Xeni Kusumitra discussing her arts practice, Art After Hours  

Access workshop led by artist Kate Burton

Kate Burton facilitating an Access workshop

Art is the lens through which I interact with the world. Mental illness limits my physical world so I use art to expand the boundaries, and explore past, present and future. Art is integral to my journey towards recovery as it creates a sense of meaning and purpose. I use my work both to seek and to give hope and inspiration to others who are fighting the same battles.
M.Sunflower, artist

Pathways to Practice is a mentorship program for artists who identify with disability. Each year it provides artists who identify with disability, mental health or access requirements with opportunities for further professional development in the arts through a series of workshops and several days of immersion at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

  • History and development

    In 2016, the Art Gallery partnered with Front Up, a Western Sydney–based arts and culture hub founded by Ability Options.

    The partnership was developed to deliver the pilot Emerge engagement project, connecting emerging artists with disability with professional artists and arts professionals at the Gallery to enhance skills and build networks.

    Since the Art Gallery and Front Up first collaborated in 2016, over 35 artists with disability, mental illness or access needs have been engaged through this partnership. Gallery artist educators and staff have provided mentorship through workshops and group discussion.

    The partnership has allowed artists to build networks with key organisations in the arts sector such as Artspace.

    In 2019, the Art Gallery partnered with Kaldor Public Art Projects to collaborate with Little Orange Studio, Campbelltown Arts Centre, on a Pathway to Practice program, to deliver a program for ten Little Orange artists, in association with the major exhibition Making Art Public: 50 Years of Kaldor Public Art Projects at the Art Gallery.

    Little Orange Studio is a Campbelltown Arts Centre working studio for contemporary Western Sydney artists who identify with disability. The studio has been running since 2014 and fosters high quality artistic practice through the provision of materials, mentorships, business training and access to industry professionals.

  • Impact

    The Pathways to Practice program aims to remove barriers to access, participation and representation for the artists, with the aim of building skills and capacity to find further education and employment opportunities in the arts.

    The professional development program has received an overwhelmingly positive response, delivered significant benefits for the participating artists, and has set the solid foundation for ongoing connection with the Art Gallery and a network of artists.

    Among the impacts and connections forged with the Art Gallery, the collection and exhibitions, there are a range of positive outcomes. These include:

    • new networks with Gallery staff, artists and arts organisations

    • skills developed for delivering talks and workshops

    • enhanced professional skills, confidence and self-esteem

    • opportunities to present their practice in the Art Gallery through public programs

    • developing an understanding of how to navigate the Australian art world

    The Art Gallery has partnered with organisations including Front Up supported by Ability Options, Information Cultural Exchange Parramatta, Little Orange Studio Campbelltown Arts Centre, and Sunnyfield Disability services.