By Yuning Sun
Art Month Sydney 2012 is the third annual contemporary art festival that celebrates the vibrancy and diversity of visual art in Sydney. It offers dynamic series of art events ranging from exhibitions, talks, tours, artist studio visits, to children’s art activity trails. More than 200 artists participated in Art Month 2012, which was held in more than 100 galleries across Sydney, mostly in the precincts of Surry Hills, Paddington and Danks St, Waterloo. Art Month has become an anticipated annual event among art lovers and artists. ‘We want people to get excited about contemporary art and to make them feel welcomed and involved’, notes Art Month 2012 Director, Eliza Muldoon (Davies K, 2012). The festival offers everyone the chance to interact with the contemporary artists and their works. Through diversity, Art Month has allowed valuable exchanges of knowledge between the artists and the public.
Art Month 2012 was aimed at a wide target audience, which involved individuals from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. It also aligned its agenda and marketing concepts towards capturing a diverse target audience.
In creating and attracting visual attention to the event, Art Month 2012 adopted various methods of marketing. This included media coverage, extensive advertising, VIP invitations, and the use of social media to extend its marketing outreach to its audiences. By doing so, this helps to create and build up a sense of pre-event excitement and immersion until the lead up to the event. The graphic design of Art Month 2012 also reflected its diversity. When you open the Art Month website, or free App, even the brochures, the use of vibrant colors with lively and vivid geometric graphics reflected the rich and diverse energy of the festival. Moreover, information related to the festival was comprehensively presented and easily accessible in the website, brochures, as well as the free App. The apparent effort placed into the branding and marketing of the event can be observed from the tailored designs and concepts, which had its intended audience in mind. This was clever publicity to attract public’s attention, while showcasing the qualities of the upcoming activities. It had so served to enhance the status of the festival.
Art Month 2012 was an engaging event for art lovers in Sydney. Art Month 2012 divided the event into several programs such as Art at Night, Conversations, Creating, Art Appreciation, Exhibitions, tours, Art & Food, Family and Art Offsite. The programs were held over a broad range of timings, with some even featuring extended hours, which made it more accessible and convenient to the general public.
Visitors were able to enjoy the vibrancy of art after-hours with the dedicated Art at Night program. They were able to take advantage of the extended opening hours at targeted arts precincts across the city. You could even take a DIY tour of local galleries from 6.00-8.00pm before heading to the closest Art Bar, where there were performances and drinks served from 8.00pm.
The Exhibitions Strand showcased works by about 200 artists. Visitors were able to look for the Art Month Sydney sticker on the window of the galleries and have a look inside. There were high quality exhibitions distributed across 102 galleries in Sydney, such as Grant Stevens at Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Paul Davis at Tim Olsen, Craig Waddell at gallery 9, McLean Edwards at Martin Browne Contemporary, as well as the internationally lauded Red Gate Gallery (Beijing) that presented a touring exhibition of artists at Damien Minton Gallery.
In addition, Art Month 2012 also provided opportunities for experts to answer the everyday questions and misconceptions, which often surround contemporary art. From emerging to established artists, the unknown and the notorious, it was a rare chance to hear from Sydney’s contemporary art influencers as to what they believe makes good art, and why, which was hotly debated at a separate discussion during the program.
Furthermore, Art Month 2012 also provided art beginners the rare chance to learn the basics of various contemporary art practices from leading Australian artists. The Wonderful Weekend Workshops for adults included everything from paper cutting sessions to traditional life drawing classes, and sessions in the exquisite Korean Hanji crafts. This was an interesting way to allow art lovers to try to make their own arts.
Meanwhile, Art Appreciation aimed to provide suggestions to audiences who wished to be collectors, but had no idea or in-depth knowledge of collection. The Art Appreciation sessions helped to demystify the art buying process and created informed discussions about the art market in Australia today.
The Art and Food sessions had a natural harmony. Artists, chefs and designers had come together to share their passion in a cross collaboration of talents, in the experience of art, while engaging one’s senses in a relaxed and delicious environment.
Moreover, Art Month 2012 had offered such wide varieties of interactive events that there was something to suit any age group. An invitation for kids and their parents to participate to art workshops was Art Month 2012’s contribution to engage families in the events. In addition, there were also cycling tours that took participants into the heart of some of Sydney’s vibrant art neighbourhoods. The abundance of events and programs assisted Art Month 2012 in making an attractive festival that appealed to all.
Hundreds of galleries across Sydney shone as they put on a show for the public with the charm of art. This feast was also a comprehensive display of a thriving local arts scene through all mediums such as painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, installation, sound and video art. Contemporary, indigenous and international art was put on display for the public.
The diversity of the art festival brings more opportunities to both artists and the public. Art Month Sydney has become a stimulant, active every autumn in Sydney through abundant cultural activities, bringing a wonderful enjoyment of art to Sydney citizens. (Somerville J, 2012)
The diversity of this arts event had offered a variety of opportunities as well as environments to encourage artistic creations. Arts festivals such as Art Month have indeed provided a lot of opportunities for artists and art workers. Nonetheless, the opportunities that Art Month had brought were of a different kind; it was one that contained an actively competitive and developed opportunity. It is not only opening doors for artists, but it also helps to uncover excellent talent for art galleries and arts groups. For example in ‘the art interview’, which was a unique networking opportunity for 20 emerging Australian artists. Over 140 artists had applied for the chance to showcase their work in Sydney’s top galleries. 20 talented artists were selected to meet with 20 of Sydney’s top galleries in this specially curated Art Month 2012 event. The artists had an opportunity to communicate with art curators and directors, exchange and present their ideas and inspirations, and to widen their art social circle. Galleries and art institutions had also indicated their expectations of the artists, their views on contemporary art and their thoughts on the future developments of contemporary art. This form of interview is a good way to establish and share ideas and visions for the future of the arts.
The diversity of the arts activities had enabled more people from different ages, education levels, and backgrounds to join and enjoy art. It not only provides opportunities for people to experience the arts, but also serves to stimulate public interests in art. This alludes to the possibility of attracting commercial institutions, which could potentially lead to lucrative business partnerships allowing better development within the arts. (Heidimaier, Mar 2012)
The Art Month 2012 offered people of all ages and levels the chance to interact with living contemporary artists and their works. This was a wonderful opportunity for everyone, an opportunity to popularise contemporary arts. As Muldoon expected, ‘the key of this program is a broad range of categories and events that means everyone can engage with contemporary art in whatever way they feel comfortable.’ (Art Month Sydney, 5 February 2012)
In addition, a successful art event would attract commercial elements, which are interested in supporting the development of contemporary arts. This diversity increases the port of business and artistic events, thus, providing greater opportunities for business access to stations in the art industry and promoting contemporary art to the public. This year, Art Month sponsors were from varied industries such as, banking and automobile industries. For instance, one of Art Month exhibitions, The Art of Singleframe was located in the Audi Centre Sydney. This is a perfect incorporation of the high quality of the car and the elegant arts. Audi’s display of elegant art within its premise, flaunted the charms of its brand; at the same time, this had also garnered increased public attention towards contemporary art. This is an effective way to develop and encourage contemporary arts. By attracting different forms of commercial sponsorship, and providing diverse opportunities to sponsors through arts events, could indirectly help to achieve greater support for contemporary art.
Art Month 2012 had successfully brought contemporary art to the public, and had encouraged people to engage with them, while removing the barriers people perceive around accessibility. The programs had revealed an amazing breadth and depth of Sydney’s contemporary artists. It had gotten people thinking about ways of approaching the arts, and brought in new audiences.
Art Month Sydney has produced a very positive impact on the arts industry. It encourages art creators and practitioners to recognise the changes in the market. However, exactly how long the intense stimulation and encouragement can be preserved cannot be controlled. To continue to encourage the artists and art workers still needs a variety of different forms. But the diversity of the arts event is, indeed, a display of the development of the state of the arts industry and is a good way to promote the development of the arts industry. The art promotes social progress and community participation within the development of the arts, which is both beneficial for art and society.
Art Month Sydney 5th. February 2012, ‘5 minutes with Art Month Artistic Director Eliza Muldoon’, Art Month Sydney, Australia, viewed 2ed. May 2012,
Art Month Sydney 2012, Art Month Sydney, Australia, viewed 2ed. May 2012,
Davies K 7th Mar.2012, ‘Art Month Sydney comes to the North Shore’, Whereilive,
Heidimaier Mar 2012, Sydney Art Month 2012, Thevine, viewed 2ed. May 2012,
Somerville J. 6th May 2012, ‘Art Month Sydney 2012’, Australian art review. viewed10th. May 2012,
Sydneycool Mar. 2012, ‘art month sydney brilliant art professional galleries exciting month’, Sydneycool , viewed 2ed. May 2012,