Artists Announced for Brisbane Art Immersion Program

Published on 23 January 2020


Six Rockhampton region based artists and arts workers will spend three days immersed in Brisbane’s art scene later this month, thanks to Rockhampton Art Gallery’s Brisbane Arts Immersion Program.

Anitha Menon, Jacob McQuire, Janice Labbett, Nanette Balchin, Nicky Way and Russell Stewart will spend three days together in Brisbane from 29 to 31 January.

Participants will each gain valuable professional development and skills in how to establish sustainable arts businesses in the Rockhampton Region and further diversify the local economy.

The opportunity will enrich the artists’ knowledge and awareness for metropolitan visual art industries through travel to Brisbane and visits to artist run initiatives (ARIs), philanthropic organisations and commercial art galleries.

The Brisbane Arts Immersion Program builds upon smaller-scale artist and arts worker professional development opportunities held by Rockhampton Art Gallery over the past 18 months.

Chair of RRC Community Services Committee Cr Rose Swadling said of the opportunity was a response to a demand for grass-roots development.

“Through increasing Rockhampton artists’ professional abilities, the capacity for valuable community engagement programs is exponentially increased. These cultural programs developed as outcomes of this Brisbane Art Industry Immersion will have direct relevance to the community, due to their nature in being run by artists who are fully absorbed in Rockhampton’s flourishing cultural climate,” Cr Swadling said.

Following the experience, the participants will share their findings and ideas for future opportunities with the Rockhampton community at a panel discussion on Thursday 6 February 2020 at Rockhampton Art Gallery.

Nanette Balchin, an artist who works in the Rockhampton Region, said that it is an honour to participate. “Through seeing a large variety of Brisbane Artist Run Initiatives and their unique models of practice, and being exposed to the wider arts scene, I hope to build a vision of what might be possible for the wider Rockhampton region arts community.”

Janice Labbett an arts worker said “This is an amazing opportunity, for artists and art workers, to travel together to see artist inspired areas they’ve never seen before. Then to have the privilege of talking and discussing the journeys of the artists we meet and how any obstacles were overcome. To learn and to be inspired, and most importantly, to bring new ideas back to Rockhampton that will provide encouragement and practical knowledge, that when applied will provide a boost through art, to all ages within the community.  I feel absolutely privileged to have been chosen to participate in this program, as I will grow so much, and hopefully have a role in sharing with others.”

Writer Nicky Way said “It’s such an exciting time to be involved in the arts in CQ right now. With a new gallery on the way and big investments by Council in the arts, there are so many stories and opportunities we can create for our artists and arts workers. Heading to Brisbane will provide us with the connections and inspiration to help our region further develop our regions visual arts industry. Thank you to the Regional Arts Development Fund for supporting initiatives like this.”

Anitha Menon said “So excited to be part of Brisbane Art Immersion program as it is an exciting opportunity for artists and art workers working in Rockhampton to learn about the arts and culture in the city. I look forward to sharing the knowledge I will gain through this experience to promote regional arts in Rockhampton area.”

The Brisbane Art Industry Immersion program was established by the Rockhampton Art Gallery with the support of a Regional Arts Development Fund Project Grant. The Regional Arts Development Fund is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Rockhampton Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland. Rockhampton Art Gallery is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council.


Anitha Menon, Russell Stewart, Janice Labbett, Nanette Balchin. (Absent: Nicky Way, Jacob McQuire)