For the love of art

For many people, art is more than just a hobby and for a select lucky few it becomes a job. Alice Gittins is Access Arts’ newest Acting Coordinator, overseeing more than 20 hours of visual arts programs run each week.

But a career with Access Arts wasn’t always on the cards for Alice until a chance meeting at the Undercover Artist Festival in 2017 changed everything.

“I first started as a volunteer at Undercover Artist Festival, and I was blown away by the amount of passion, expression, skill and depth of warmth in that festival and with the people working there,” Alice said.

“As soon as the Festival was over, I put an expression of interest in to help in any way I could.”

It wasn’t long after Alice was soon teaching others to tap into their artistic side and work towards a career in the arts.

“What I love about working at Access Arts is the opportunity to support other artists with their careers,” Alice said. 

Alice Gittins sitting in the Access Arts studio with a client. Alice is wearing a green shirt with an apron with lots of paint on it. The client is wearing a black shirt with a pink apron. She is working on some painted artwork.

Access Arts Manager Tim Brown said Access Arts is Queensland’s leader for arts and disability, running programs and supporting artists with disability to forge a successful career in the arts. 

“At Access Arts we are here to not just teach but also advocate for our clients. Whether it’s through running exhibitions or online showcases, we aim to support artists with disability to discover their creativity and pursue a career,” Tim said. 

“And to do this, we aim to have experienced artists running our programs – people just like Alice.”

Alice, a contemporary artist by profession, brings her own artistic experience to her Access Arts workshops. 

“Art means different things to everyone. For me, my priority is to create real connections with the artists, and there’s nothing more rewarding than supporting someone to complete an artwork from start to finish.

“I find the experience is often as beneficial for me as it is for our artists. I love being in an art studio and providing people with the opportunity to engage, create and make a living.”

Participants from the visual arts workshops run by Alice have exhibited their artwork in Access Arts’ first online exhibition, as well as on the walls of St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital. 

“I had one artist who was initially quite anxious and hesitant about making any marks on paper. Every step took time and guidance, with some frustration on their part,” Alice said.

“Through many workshops, this artist has become self-motivated and confident. They have branched into several media and begun to sell work for markets and commissions. 

“That’s the true power of art. It can provide so much whether that be a purpose in life, a job like many of our exhibiting artists, or even just providing value and fulfilment in creating.”

Would you like to know more about Access Arts? Visit the website for more details and a list of workshops.

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Alice Gittins standing in Access Arts studio. Alice is wearing a green shirt with an apron with lots of paint on it.