The 8 Artists project began with a Proposal Phase. This phase was designed to see if the project would work. Sarah McEwan worked with Caz Eckersall in the design of the delivery and Caz, Patrick Ronald and Debra Howard from Skills Options targeted talented artists from their service to participate. The Proposal Phase had four sessions over July and August 2012.
Disability Awareness Training
This three-hour session was facilitated by Barbel Winter from Futures Upfront and was attended by the artists without disability and staff from Eastern Riverina Arts and the Art Gallery. This training was made possible through sponsorship by Ideas
Collaborating artists met with Sarah McEwan for 1 hour in a mutually agreed space to introduce themselves, show each other their work and chat. Artists brought along family photos as well as examples of past artworks. Afterwards the artists were asked if they wanted to meet again to create some art together.
The artists met for 3 hours at a mutually agreed space for a workshop. A series of exercises were given to each collaborating pair as a way to stimulate conversation and to develop an understanding of each other’s visual style. Afterwards the artists were asked if they wanted to continue working together.
Matthew Perry from Art in the Garage, who has extensive experience working in arts and disability, was the special guest for this daylong session featuring the Art in the Garage model, the sharing of work made and discussions about the collaboration process. Matthew has continued to provide the project with advice and guidance.
After this Proposal Phase the artists were asked if they wanted to continue to work together. Three artists decided not to continue and we began the process again with new artists. We saw this as a success of the Proposal Phase as we wanted the artists to mutually agree to work together and be excited by the possibilities of the collaboration.