August 2014 Newsletter

01st August, 2014

Message from Chief Executive Pat Swell

What a terrific time we have coming up with two not-to-be-missed date-claimers!

6pm Thursday 18 September – come to KPMG in the CBD for the opening of Living Flow, an exhibition of Access Artists’ artwork featuring paintings, photographs and mixed media.  The exhibition explores the theme of patterns and rhythms in nature through a sunset colour palette.  The Hon. Ian Walker MP, Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, open the exhibition. (See page 12)

  • We also launch our inaugural $10,000 Access Arts Achievement Award at our KPMG exhibition opening on 18 September. Come along, meet the distinguished panel of judges and find out how to enter.  (See page 14)
  • Looking ahead…  Put 2-5pm Saturday 29 November in your diary.  This not only celebrates our end-of-year Community Showcase, it’s also the moment when we announce the first recipient of our new $10,000 Access Arts Achievement Award! Come on down to BEMAC – 120 Main Street, Kangaroo Point – be there and join in the fun!


Message from President Thomas Bradley QC

Message from President Thomas Bradley QC

Since our last newsletter, much has happened in the Access Arts world, as many of you know.  There is time and space to mention only a few things.

Indigenous partnerships

We have completed three major projects with Indigenous partners.  I would like to share with all our members some of the words and images, to acknowledge this important aspect of our work.

The men’s torso and community arts project was a partnership between Access Arts and The Healing Centre Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Centre Health Service Brisbane.  One of the participants was Edward Collins:
My name is Edward Collins. I am a proud Bunjalung and Kooma man from Queensland, Australia. For my art piece I chose to paint a landscape of the bush with mountains and the night sky in the background. I decided to do this because the bush reminds me of our old people and how they used to live before colonisation and because I find being out in the bush to be very peaceful and healing for me. I am proud of my aboriginality.  My fondest memories of my late father are of when he used to teach me the Bunjalung language and when he would tell me stories of how the old people used to hunt animals for their food. I am looking forward to coming back into the Healing Centre.

 The NAIDOC celebration was a partnership between Access Arts and the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts (ACPA).  Local secondary school students took part in an intensive week of workshops tutored by ACPA students.  Their work covered dance, acting, music, Indigenous culture and fusion, and leadership.  The students ar pictured below during a rehearsal, the week ended with a celebratory performance on the main stage at Brisbane’s NAIDOC Festival.

These three partnership projects were made possible with our renewed funding from Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.The Rite of Passage Ball 2014 was a partnership between Access Arts and Inala Wangarra.  The ball was developed to engage Inala Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged between 15 and 21 in a series of workshops based on increasing their leadership skills, enhancing their personal growth and empowering them to make positive future life choices. Through the workshops, including a program to create headpieces with artist-designers, the participants explored their identity, individuality and future aspirations.  These workshops culminated in a showcase of their newly formed skills and achievements at the Rite of Passage Ball.

Liz Navratil bequest

In June, Kathy McIntosh presented Access Arts with an original artwork by Liz Navratil, her sister and our past president, who passed away last year.  It is not only a beautiful work in its own right, but also an important part of our history.  It is the pastel drawing featured on the brochure announcing Access Arts’ first important tour in 1984, the year of our founding.  We will treasure it.  The artwork hangs prominently in our office at Teneriffe.  Make sure you take a look next time you are nearby.

Kathy also presented a Southern Star press article from 1987, which featured a photograph of Liz, another performer-member Maree Minter and the artwork.  Reading the article, it was interesting to see how public language has changed over the intervening years: Liz is described as a cerebral palsy “victim”, her paintings “heartwarming”; Maree is described as a “dwarf”; and our members as “handicapped”.  The sub-editor’s headline picks up Liz’s comment about the social imbalance, with disabled artists having to be “better than good”.  The article also records the strong positive words of Liz and Maree:

“Access Arts gives people with ability the opportunity to take part in the artistic world.”  

This is the vision of Access Arts to this day.  It is part of the legacy we inherit from our founders, including Liz.

The article reminds us that the advocacy and artistic work and practice of Access Arts members, led by Liz and others, have left a lasting legacy by significantly changing language and public understanding and appreciation of the rights of the one in five Queenslanders with disability.

On behalf of the board, I wish to express our heartfelt thanks to Kathy McIntosh and her family for this extraordinary gift, and our great pride in the talent and achievements of her late sister.  It gives us another reason to confirm our commitment to continue her work to the best of our abilities.


Crime writing award

To commemorate another aspect of Liz Navratil’s prolific creative career, Sisters in Crime Queensland has established the Liz Navratil Award for the Best Short Story with a Disabled Protagonist.  It is part of the Scarlet Stiletto national crime writing competition, to be presented in Melbourne on 21 November 2014. Further information may be found at the Sisters in Crime website:

Community Showcase

The Community Showcase on 14 June 2014 was a celebration of music, voice, rhythm, colour and creativity.  In a hall packed to the rafters, Access Arts members revealed how to “Catch A Dream”.  It was our best attended showcase and produced a bumper crop of enthusiasm and applause for (as well as appreciation and sales of) our members work.  Congratulations to everyone who performed, worked on or supported the showcase, including the generous raffle donors from the Merthyr Village in New Farm, local Councilor Vicki Howard, and local member Jackie Trad MP.

A couple of months of weekend events

Access Arts proved to be a popular exhibitor at both the Government House Open Day on 8 June 2014 and the Teneriffe Festival on 5 July 2014.  As well as showing off and selling members’ work, both stalls featured “live performances” by visual artists creating works over the course of the day.  Thanks to those who participated and those who worked so hard on the week-ends to make these events possible.

Term 4 Community Arts Workshops - Visual Arts and Crafts (Explore Art Forms)

This fun workshop explores a range of artistic forms and techniques, from painting and printing to collage and found-object sculpting. Join us this term and develop your skills and confidence.

Term 4: Wednesday 8 October – Wednesday 26 November (8 weeks)

Day/Time:  Wednesdays, 10:30am – 12:30pm

Venue:  Access Arts Studio, SWARA – 101 Park Rd, Woolloongabba

Cost:  $75 per term, to be paid to the Access Arts office or in Week 1

Facilitator:  Felicity Kelly-Cruise

Term 4 Community Arts Workshops - Visual Arts (Extend Your Skills)

Come and build on skills you already have or learn something new. This is a workshop designed to offer our members an opportunity to focus on developing your talents and techniques in a particular visual art form, from painting or drawing to sculpting or printing. It’s up to you!

 Term 4:  Thursday 9 October – Thursday 27 November (8 weeks)

Day/Time:  Thursdays, 10:30am – 12:30pm

Venue:  Access Arts Studio, SWARA – 101 Park Rd, Woolloongabba

Cost:  $75 per term, to be paid to the Access Arts office or in Week 1

Facilitator: Felicity Kelly-Cruise

Term 4 Community Arts Workshops - Access Arts Singers

Access Arts Singers is a workshop facilitated by renowned artist Annie Peterson. Participants are taught vocal techniques and explore different, fun ways of creating harmony. Each term the group works on new songs to perform at Access Arts showcase events and other community concerts and festivals. No experience is needed, all are welcome!

Term 4:  Thursday 9 October – Thursday 27 November (8 weeks)

Day/Time:  Thursdays, 12:30pm – 2:00pm

Venue:  New Farm Neighbourhood Centre, 967 Brunswick St, New Farm

Cost:  $75 per term, to be paid to the Access Arts office or in Week 1

Facilitator:  Annie Peterson

Term 4 Community Arts Workshops - Drumming Workshop

Participants will learn different skills and techniques on various drums and percussion instruments, exploring a range of rhythms and musical patterns. No experience required – all are welcome in the Drumming Circle!

Term 4:   Friday 10 October – Friday 28 November(7 weeks)*

Day/Time:  Fridays, 11am – 1pm

Venue:  SWARA – 101 Park Rd, Woolloongabba

Cost:  Free

Facilitator:  Drummer and percussionist, Nicky Perry


*Please note workshop will not be held in Week 6 (Friday 14 November) as it is a public holiday for the G20


For further information on the Community Arts Program, please contact Georgia Smith, Project Coordinator, on (07) 3254 9585 or

Community Showcase – Catch a Dream!

What a wonderful night! If you came along to our Community Showcase in June, I’m sure you would agree the event was a great success.

A very big thank you to everyone who participated, we were once again reminded of the vast array of talent we have at Access Arts. From DJ Smiley spinning some lively dance tracks, our magnificent Access Arts Singers performing a catchy Beatles medley, the talented DJ Jammers who serenaded us with their original rock songs and soulful ballads, and of course what would a Community Showcase be without our popular Access Arts Drummers!

The Catch A Dream! exhibition was a sight to behold with some wonderful interpretations of what the event’s theme meant to our artists.

We had the largest attendance at this year’s mid-year showcase, with an estimated 130 people squeezed into Windsor Hall. Yes, we’ll be looking for a larger venue to accommodate the growing numbers next year! The venue provided an ideal backdrop for the Catch A Dream! theme with its twinkling fairy lights and colourful displays.

Again, a huge thank you to our members, their carers and support workers, our volunteers and workshop staff, the Cerebral Palsy League, our funders and door prize sponsors, the Auslan interpreters from Deaf Services Queensland, and the Access Arts board members and office staff.  You have all contributed in varying and invaluable ways, and it all made for another memorable Community Showcase!

– Georgia Smith, Project Coordinator


Visual Arts Professional Development - Visual Arts Workshops

Brisbane Outsider Artists’ Studio (BOA)

BOA is a studio for artists who want to develop their visual arts skills to a professional standard. Before attending the BOA studio in Brisbane, members are asked to make an appointment with Access Arts to present and discuss their arts practice. The BOA studio is open two days a week. Artists receive professional development support, high quality materials and opportunities to exhibit in quality exhibitions.

 Term 4:  Monday 6 October – Tuesday 25 November (8 weeks)*

Day/Time: Mondays and Tuesdays, 10am – 3pm

Venue: Access Arts Studio, SWARA, 101 Park Rd, Woolloongabba

Cost: $120 per term, to be paid to the Access Arts office

Facilitator: Rachel Gaffney-Dawson

*Please note BOA is full for Term 4


Camera Wonderers

The Access Arts Camera Wonderers are a group of dedicated photographers that meet once a week to discuss photography, techniques and ideas. The Camera Wonderers critique and encourage each other’s developing photographic practice in a supportive, non-competitive environment. Throughout the year the Camera Wonderers showcase their work in a range of exhibitions.

 Term 4: Tuesday 7 October – Tuesday 25 November (8 weeks)*

Day/Time: Tuesdays, 10:30am – 12:00pm

Venue: Access Arts office, 1F/24 Macquarie St, Teneriffe

Cost: $75 per term, to be paid to the Access Arts office

Facilitator: Louis Lim

*Please note Camera Wonderers is full for Term 4

For more information on the Visual Arts Program contact Rachel Gaffney-Dawson on (07) 3254 9585 or

Visual Arts Mentorships

Judith Baker completes oil painting mentorship
Access Arts artist Judith Baker has recently completed a mentorship with Marcel Desbiens, a Brisbane based tutor who teaches the traditional oil painting techniques of the old masters. Through this mentorship Judith has focused on refining her ability to realistically depict skin tones and textures, as well as aspects of the natural world. The results are impressive!

Judith says:
Over the last twelve months I have been the lucky recipient of Professional Development Program funding from Access Arts. It has been a tremendous learning curve to have been part of this very supportive program. The funding has been a tremendous help to me in my pursuit of artistic development. It was directed towards tuition to attend several oil painting classes at the Brisbane painting classes with French Canadian artist Marcel Desbein and to study the old masters techniques in doing beautiful skin tones and glazing techniques, rainforests and skies. I hope to further my art career with the inclusion of solo art exhibitions in the future and look forward to having my art works featured in some prominent galleries. Having been involved in the administrative side of art for many years and overcoming many physical difficulties in attaining my present qualifications, the chance of tuition under the guidance of such a top, professional tutor has been a dream come true.

Matt Rees successfully launches his first solo exhibition Dreamscape

Access Arts artist Matt Rees has recently completed a mentorship with Silvia Herranz-Gonzalez, focusing on the practical aspects of coordinating his first solo exhibition Dreamscape. This mentorship has been a great success, culminating in not one solo exhibition but three! Dreamscape has been exhibited at the Vera Wade Gallery in Brisbane City in June, Caboolture Regional Art Gallery in July, and will be shown at the Redland Art Gallery in September 2015. It has been excellent to see this diverse and accomplished collection of artworks brought to life in different gallery settings.

Matt says:
The benefits for me within the mentorship program were mostly based on upgrading previous learnt studies to present day and working within the venue coordination environment once again. Summary and no time wasting during the program was a plus for me. The option to use those 16 hours over 6 months suited [me] well to rebuild my confidence… I walked away content with all that I had learnt knowing I need not study further though have the option to.


Lisa Blake completes graphic design mentorship and launches first solo

Lisa Blake, a member of the Brisbane Outsider Artists’ Studio, has recently completed a graphic design mentorship with Neisha Philips. This has been a great opportunity for Lisa to create art in a digital format and learn how to produce exhibition materials such as invitations and business cards for her upcoming solo exhibition.
Lisa says:

Not only did I create several digital artworks using Adobe Illustrator with graphic designer Neisha during my mentorship, but I also took away many new skills, which I have since been able to apply to designing an invitation for an exhibition and ordering business cards.  I feel I will be able to use the skills to adapt my artworks created by hand into digital artwork variations – which are very useful for the greeting cards I currently make in particular.  I am also now able to do more in Photoshop as the two programs have a lot in common, and as I have a version of Photoshop elements on my computer at home I can now edit photos of my artworks independently.

Exhibitions - Camera Wonderers exhibit at Brisbane Festival

This year the Camera Wonderers will once more exhibit a selection of their photographs at the QUT Theatre Republic as part of Brisbane Festival. The photographs will be shown in slideshow format, projected onto a large outdoor screen. It will be fantastic to see how the Camera Wonderers creatively interpret this year’s theme – Revolution.

Opening: 6pm Wednesday 10 September
Dates: Tuesday 9– Saturday 27 September 2014, 6pm – 11pm

Where: QUT Theatre Republic, QUT Creative Industries Precinct, Cnr Kelvin Grove Rd and Musk Ave, Kelvin Grove

Exhibitions - Art from the Margins Exhibition

Nineteen of Access Arts’ artists will exhibit artwork in the Art from the Margins exhibition in Brisbane City Hall as part of Brisbane Festival 2014. This year artists from the Brisbane Outsider Artists’ Studio (including regional members), Camera Wonderers, and Access Arts Mentorship Program have submitted artwork. There is a fantastic variety this year in the mediums of acrylic and oil painting, photography and collage.

Opening: Friday 12 September 2014, 5:30pm

Dates: Thursday 11 – Sunday 14 September 2014
Where: Brisbane City Hall

Professional Development

Did you know that Access Arts has a professional development program for emerging and professional artists?  The program is open to artists working in any art form who live in Queensland and identify as experiencing disability.

Entry to the program is by interview – either in person, or by telephone for Queenslanders living in regional areas.

We run mentorships as part of the professional development program, offering eight sessions with an expert in your field of practice. Additional support such as assistance identifying opportunities and grants is also available. The cost of the professional development program is $50 for the year.

Do you want to know more?  Contact Belinda Locke, Project Coordinator, on or phone 3254 9585 (local call 1300 663 651).


SAFE Grants 2014

In 2007singer/song-writer Peter Vance provided funding for Access Arts to establish the SAFE grant scheme. Peter chose the name SAFE as an acronym of‘Sacred-Angel Arts Funding Empowerment’ – Sacred Angel after Angiosarcoma, the cancer that took his beloved wife, Marilyn.

Other donors have contributed to the fund which enables Access Arts to make 6 awards of $1,000 a year.

Access Arts’SAFE grants provide fast, flexible assistance to emerging and professional artists living in Queensland who experience disability. These grants have helped talented Queensland artists to further their practice.

For more information contact Belinda Locke, Project Coordinator, on or phone on 3254 9585 (local call 1300 663 651).

Deb Chilton – Rising Star Bursary Recipient

Thanks to the support of Arts Queensland, Ipswich artist Deb Chilton received a bursary through our Rising Star initiative to assist her with the delivery of a program for visual artists with disability in her region.

Deb says:

The bursary has enabled me to grow my confidence in managing a staff team, working with others to deliver a service, establish local art networks, and establish the ArtISability brand here in Ipswich. Delivering a successful program resulted in other areas of support through the disability inter-agency support network, and along the way me being enlisted for committees to run one off events.

I am currently in the process of negotiating to host an event on behalf of the Ipswich City Council for Disability Action Week. This demonstrates I am seen as a compliant project manager in the Ipswich Region and ready to work in a management position. I do not believe this would have been possible prior to receiving my Rising Star bursary. My knowledge of the arts and disability sector continues to grow along with my local network in Ipswich.