Skye is relishing her role at the Glasshouse in developing programs & opportunities for the community to engage with the arts, as well as supporting creative & cultural participation.
Skye, after growing up in Port Macquarie, you won a scholarship to play volleyball and study arts in the USA … How did all that come about?
Port Macquarie was such a wonderful place to grow up. I had a huge sporting background, with involvement in the surf club, athletics, dancing and volleyball, but I always had a huge passion for arts and culture. Looking back now, there were certainly limited opportunities for creative arts development for young people.
In high school, volleyball became my major sport of choice, and I went on to travel internationally and around Australia with state teams.
In 1995, our local school volleyball team, who were national champions, took a holiday to the USA, where we played against some American club teams.
After returning from the US, we were bombarded with scholarship opportunities from all across the USA. It was such a great opportunity, so in 1996, I packed two suitcases and headed over to the US to study. After four years at university, I graduated and went on to work in the arts industry for another 4 years.
How did your career progress in the States?
The US was a great place to live. It is certainly a country full of opportunities. After graduating from university, I moved to Charleston, South Carolina and worked in the commercial gallery scene. One of the highlights was working for a great company that specialised in pre 1830 American furniture, with a very select clientele. We used to travel to New York and throughout the Eastern States, sourcing, researching and placing works into private and public collections.
Charleston was a great area to be based in the US. I met so many wonderful people and great contacts within the art world, with whom I still keep in touch. It allowed me to travel throughout the US as well as South America. It was certainly a place full of diversity, history, arts and culture.
What is it you love most about the arts?
Wow, the arts are so diverse, so it’s difficult to pin point the one thing I love most. I like the way the arts leave a mark in the world, a sign of existence. So often, when we refer back in history, it is the arts that captures the true depth of society and culture.
It encourages people to think outside the straight and narrow, it challenges the system, it’s creative, innovative, challenging and more often then not, beautiful and humorous. Certainly one thing I love most about my job, is seeing how people are able to express themselves in so many different ways.
You have now been working at the Glasshouse for over 6 years, from starting in the old Regional Gallery and now into the Glasshouse space as Public Programs Co-ordinator. What exactly does the role entail?
It has certainly been an interesting journey, seeing the Glasshouse develop into such a great arts centre, and really one of the main reasons why I have stayed in Port Macquarie. From kids experiencing art for the first time, to seniors participating in a workshop, my role at the Glasshouse is about providing opportunities to learn, engage, create and connect art with our community.
I manage the Education @ the Glasshouse program, as well as the Public Programs. Part of my role is to bring artists to the area and develop programs and opportunities for our community to engage with the arts, as well as support creative and cultural participation in the arts.
Thousands of students have been through the gallery and been part of the many workshops and school holiday events. What are they enjoying most about those programs?
I think children really enjoy getting out of the classroom. When they come to the Glasshouse, they are given a unique opportunity to appreciate and engage with art on a different level and in a professional environment, with some amazing artists.
It is fantastic to see children creating their own artwork, or experiencing a live theatre performance for the first time. It is certainly an environment that is second to none.
Also, the Glasshouse offers teachers the opportunity to see their students engage in a different environment. The programs are always a great learning opportunity, but more importantly, they are fun and exciting.
Tell us about the different programs that are available.
The Glasshouse has a huge range of programs that encourage creative learning. From our fantastic professional theatre program to our incredible exhibition program, we develop programs that allow us to engage with a range of different audiences.
Quite often you will find adult workshops with visiting artists, floor talks throughout the exhibition, masterclasses with guest performers, coffee mornings with guest curators and a dedicated schools program.
Children’s programs run throughout the year and also within the school holidays. Holiday Fun @ the Glasshouse is a great program for kids aged 6 – 12 to come into the Glasshouse and become creative. Kids work with local artists, to create their own artworks to take home. It is amazing to see the amount of talent and skills that we have within our community.
One of the unique programs we offer is our Art and Alzheimer’s program, which is about engaging and looking at artworks within the gallery environment for people with dementia. The Glasshouse is always a hive of activity for all ages and abilities.
Partnering with other businesses has enabled you to offer more to the visiting students. Who are you partnered with, and what new partnerships are on the horizon?
Since opening , we have had over 13,000 students and teachers engage with our Education program, and we certainly would not have been as successful without the support of Essential Energy.
We are very grateful to have a tremendous children’s programs sponsor. As our children’s program partner, Essential Energy supports educational programs at the Glasshouse through a number of different initiatives. One of these initiatives is the Bus Subsidy program.
Quite often the cost of getting to a venue can be expensive for schools. With the support of Essential Energy, we are able to offer a Bus Subsidy program, whih enables schools that may be isolated, or from a low socio economic area, the same opportunity to travel to the Glasshouse and participate in a range of great programs.
We are also able to offer almost all of our Education workshops at the Glasshouse for free, as well as subsidised rates for our school performances in the theatre.
In 2012, we are looking to expand our education program through some exciting new partnerships that will increase the diversity of opportunities for students and teachers from our region. This exciting partnership will be announced in mid October, so stay tuned for the exciting news.
Teachers can keep in touch by signing up for our Education E-news via firstname.lastname@example.org