What is it like being an artist at Arts Project Australia?

In this video, Arts Project Australia artists speak on some highlights of studio life.

Almost half a century ago, Arts Project Australia became the first full-time art studio in Australia for artists living with an intellectual disability. Since, the studio has flourished a supportive atmosphere, both for artistic practice and interpersonal connection.

“There’s a lot of love and laughter in the studio,” says Arts Project Australia director Sue Roff. “It’s very personal, you get to know the artists very well. It’s very intimate. There’s not a lot of turnover of artists, so the relationships are long term.”

Pre-COVID, artists practised in the studio six days a week, working in painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, digital photography, digital imaging, animation, 3D sculpture and professional practice. Over the last eight months, the studio turned virtual with many joining the Satellite Arts Program, which is currently continuing alongside a gradual return to the studio (due to low case numbers of the virus in Melbourne). With over 150 artists exploring their creative voice, the studio has unmatchable energy.

Here is what the artists have to say on practicing in the Arts Project Australia studio:

“It’s a contained, very, very controlled form of chaos.” – Mark Smith | at APA since 2007

“I like it.” – Chris O’Brien | at APA since 2002

“I’ve been an artist for a long time.”  Samantha Ashdown | at APA since 2000

“I’ve been coming here since the 14th of July 1997.” Chris Mason | at APA since 1997

“We all have different journeys, but we all have something in common. We have good materials!” Monica Lazzari | at APA since 2006

“It feels good. I’ve made a lot of friends.” Nick Capaldo | at APA since 2004

“You can be yourself. You can do art and make friends, and you always feel welcome.” Eden Menta | at APA since 2013