In the midst of unforeseen COVID-19 restrictions, Front Up held the opening night of their Emerge Exhibition. This exhibition was the result of a 14-week course, which involved participants being mentored by professional artists to nurture, support, and develop their art practice. Front Up is an ever-expanding program of many upcoming exhibitions and initiatives.

Former Front Up artist, now co-ordinator, Rosalind Stanley, was kind enough to answer some questions about the exhibition’s opening night and the future of Front Up.


How would you say Front Up has changed since COVID-19 hit?

We have had a change of management, with myself and Liam Benson now managing Front Up.We have our usual programs set for the year, plus a lot more exciting projects that are in the planning with various other art organisations and galleries for 2020 and 2021. So, there will be quite a few opportunities for our artists to create work in our Seven Hills studios, and to then exhibit in various venues throughout Sydney.


What role did you play in this exhibition?

I was one of the artists working with the participants throughout the course, and alongside Liam, we both organised for the other artists to come in and talk about their work and the process involved in the creation, to come up with artists statements and bios. We curated the exhibition by working out where and how each artwork would be placed. We then had to promote and organise the opening night event, which was a great success.


What was the most exciting part of this exhibition?

Is there any standout artwork or artist that comes to mind when you look back on it?The most exciting part was to finally have everyone’s hard work come to fruition in an exhibition. It’s always an emotional time, as it is a long and fulfilling journey from the start of the course until the end of the resulting exhibition. I love all of the artworks as they are all unique and insightful.


How has this exhibition elevated emerging and established artists?

For emerging and professional artists, exhibitions are an invaluable way for people to come and experience their artworks in a live setting, as opposed to viewing online. It is also great for an artist’s resume to build up a portfolio of professional practices they have been involved in to help them in their careers.


Now that this exhibition has drawn to a close, what are your plans for the next one?

There are quite a few exhibitions in the planning, including the Biennale of Sydney. We will be having our own portrait Archibald prize for people with disability and are opening the entries in December, on IDPWD. We are also having more frequent exhibitions for our members who create artworks in the Front Up studio at Seven Hills.Come along when we announce the next exhibition!We are working hard behind the scenes to build Front Up into a thriving art studio space and fill the walls with more regular exhibitions. I am personally so excited to see Front Up prosper and grow this year for people with and without disability. Front Up is unique, and the impact it has had on people’s lives is enormous. That, in itself, is priceless.

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