Today (23 April 2010) NSW Minister for the Arts, The Hon Virginia Judge, launched the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ new educational program called Open Gallery. The program enables more than 2000 students a year from priority-funded schools to spend a meaningful and educational day at the Gallery.
Speaking at today’s launch, Edmund Capon, AGNSW Director, said:
While we have more than 100,000 students to the Gallery each year, we have been trying for years to have a program such as this for students, who previously had not had the opportunity to spend a day with us like so many other students. An experience like this could change the lives of many of those young people. Thank you to Optus who has supported this idea and who has committed to this program for three years.
Ms Jann Kohlman, Optus Group Manager Sponsorship and Community Programs, said:
We are pleased to be the official partner of the Open Gallery program; it is an exciting initiative which enables us to engage and connect young people in an inspiring and positive way. As part of our commitment to community, Optus works with many schools, including Chester Hill, and we are delighted to broaden the students’ experience and bring to life works of art through the new Open Gallery program. We look forward to connecting more Year 7 students from over 30 schools this year – giving them access to something new.
Sixty Year 7 Visual Arts students from Chester Hill High School were the first students to take part today.
Open Gallery targets Year 7 Visual Arts students and teachers at designated high schools, from mainly Western and South Western Sydney, Hunter / Central Coast, Illawarra and country NSW regions.
Each week one priority-funded school (around 60 students) will spend a day at the Gallery free of charge. Their day includes a tour of the Gallery’s permanent collection including Australian and Aboriginal collections, a discussion tour and lunch. Transport to and from the school is also provided. The Gallery will see 30 schools per year for the next three years.
The Gallery has focused on Year 7 Visual Arts students because Year 7 is an important transition year from primary to high school and Year 7 students are a significant age group to encourage an ongoing engagement with the visual arts, informing the election of visual arts as a subject in higher secondary years.