so hot right now now now is the final outcome of the Regional Artist Mentoring Program (RAMP), a two-year creative and professional development initiative by Cementa Incorporated and Arts OutWest. The RAMP artists are Aleshia Lonsdale (Mudgee); Asma Mather (Broken Hill); David Doyle (Broken Hill); Lily Cummins (Mittagong); Kate McKay (Collector); Freyja Moon (Taree); Ronnie Grammatica (Crescent Head); Gus Armstrong (Rylstone).
The project was conceived and implemented by Amala Groom, with support from Alex Wisser and Kris Townsend as assistant producers and co-curators and funded through the Regional Arts Fund (RAF) and Create NSW.
The vision for the program was to give eight regional artists the skills, experience and confidence to expand their practices professionally through extended mentorship, introduction to established artists and industry leaders, culminating in an ambitious public exhibition at Firstdraft gallery in Sydney. The artists were drawn from across four different Regional Arts Development Organisations (RADO) areas selected through collaboration with RADOs and regional galleries. Program partners include West Darling Arts, Southern Tablelands Arts, Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, and Glasshouse Regional Gallery. The result is a collection of work that reflects on the unique experiences and observations of the communities, people, and places to which these artists belong.
The initiative was created as a means of addressing the challenges that regional artists face in connecting into and negotiating within the arts industry. It was essential that the learnings made by the eight artists through their two-years of professional development were not stranded by the absence of a concrete opportunity to put them into practice. This was done through the so hot right now now now exhibition.
The two years were spent in regular online meetings with Amala and Kris, grounding professional development within the unique creative practices of each artist. This work was complimented by regular meetings with industry leaders including Jeff Khan (Performance Space); Michelle Newtown (Artspace); Adam Porter (Campbelltown Art Centre); and Tian Zhang (PARI); and creative mentorship provided by artists Liam Benson, Deborah Kelly, and Claudia Nicholson. The program was designed to take the professional development process, which is often presented as a theoretical discussion, and to frame it in terms of a real world opportunity to participate in the urban based arts culture that has been examined throughout their professional development.
“I’m so proud of the way each of the eight artists challenged themselves over the course of the program and how their practice has developed to produce the amazing works in this exhibition,”says Amala Groom, RAMP Creative Producer.
The exhibition is currently being held at Firstdraft, Sydney until 16 October, a space highly regarded as an important launch pad for emerging artists, and this exhibition will allow its regional participants to take this important step in establishing their careers.
Amala is a highly regarded Wiradyuri conceptual artist, and a fierce advocate for artists, art workers and audiences across regional Australia. Both Amala and Cementa Incorporated are established names within the regional arts landscape in NSW, and this program has been designed as a part of their broader strategy to strengthen the artistic community of regional NSW through artistic and professional development opportunities.
This project would not have been possible without RAF funding, which allowed the project to create paid employment opportunities for artists and curators and covered necessary artist and material fees.
Image: Aleshia LONSDALE Domestic Baggage (2022) installation view: so hot right now now now Firstdraft, Sydney. Photo: Jessica Maurer