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The Australia Council for the Arts Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski has announced the selection of 33 Australian arts professionals to attend and participate in the world’s most prestigious visual arts event, the 2015 Venice Biennale.

Mr Grybowski said the Venice Biennale Professional Development Program offered a unique opportunity for emerging curators, artists and arts administrators to work at the new Australian Pavilion, gaining valuable experience and making important industry contacts.

“The Professional Development Program is a vital part of our involvement at the Venice Biennale, which runs from 9 May to 22 November,” Mr Grybowski said.

“This is the premier global art presentation, with more than 470,000 people attending the event in 2013, including about 200,000 visitors to the Australian Pavilion.

“It is the meeting place for some of the most influential international artists, curators, gallerists, collectors and critics.

“The Professional Development Program offers a rare opportunity for our emerging arts leaders to develop global connections in the collaborative, collegial environment offered through the Venice Biennale’s presentation of a curated exhibition alongside more than 80 national pavilions.

“Importantly, most of these positions have been funded in partnership with Australia’s state-based arts funding bodies, demonstrating a collaborative national commitment to building the capacity of Australian arts workers.”

Participants are selected through an application and interview process.  All positions are voluntary, and successful applicants receive assistance with travel, accommodation and day-to-day living expenses.

Mr Grybowski said the calibre of the applicants was very impressive across a range of skills, from curatorial to exhibition and events management.

“We have a wonderful and enthusiastic team heading to Venice this year,” said Mr Grybowski.

“This Biennale is a particularly important one for Australia as we will open the new Australia Pavilion, designed by Denton Corker Marshall, in the historic Biennale gardens.

“Significant interest and anticipation is building around our featured artist, Fiona Hall AO, who will present her exhibition Wrong Way Time in the new Pavilion.

“This year’s participants will play a vital role in this important milestone in the history of Australia’s participation at Venice.”

More than 150 people have been involved in the program since it was established by the Australia Council about 20 years ago.

Tasmanian artist Fernando Do Campo participated in the program in 2013.  He said the experience was invaluable in understanding how important the event was to Australia and the contemporary art world.

“Being a team leader at the 2013 Venice Biennale was the perfect platform through which to engage and understand the beast that the Venice Biennale is and be a part of how Australia presents itself at such an exciting and critical global art world stage,” Mr Do Campo said.

“When based there for an extended period of time, the Australian Pavilion at Venice and the broader Giardini and Biennale itself function as a think-tank, especially for early career artists, curators and arts workers.

“It allowed me to learn, think, question, debate, challenge and network on a daily basis with Australian and international peers who remain colleagues today.”

Emerging Curators

Emerging Curators take part in Venice’s renowned Vernissage, a three-day professional preview period, attended by more than 30,000 people from the global visual arts community.  They have the opportunity to participate in a range of forums and curatorial events alongside the world’s contemporary art tastemakers.  The Emerging Curators will also lead tours and write articles about the experience for the Australia Council’s online magazine.

This year’s Emerging Curators are: Pippa Milne (Vic), Andrew Varano (WA), Chantelle Woods (Qld) and Megan Monte (NSW).

Exhibition Team Leaders

Exhibition Team Leaders manage the day to day running of the Australian Pavilion throughout the seven month exhibition, working four to five week rosters.  They lead the team of volunteer exhibition attendants, meet and greet visitors, provide guided tours and a range of other public relations and educational programs throughout the exhibition

This year’s Exhibition Team Leaders are: Eleanor Scicchitano (SA), Niomi Sands (NSW), Jane Barlow (Tas), Katherine Wilkinson (WA), Ashleigh Campbell (Qld), Nadia Johnson (WA), Megan Williams (Vic).

Volunteer Exhibition Attendants

Volunteer Exhibition Attendants provide assistance in the Australian Pavilion for four weeks each during the exhibition.

This year’s Volunteer Exhibition Attendants are: Mary Angove, Samuel Barbour, Lili-Belle Birchall, Philippa Brumby, Emma Buswell, Melinda Gagen, Anna Gore, Emma Hamilton, Patsy Killeen, Victoria Maxwell, Dan McCabe, Andrew Moran, Alyce Neal, Constantine Nikolakopoulos, Leanne Santoro, Marian Simpson, Ryan Sims, Annabella Snell, Thomas Hungerford, Diana Warnes and Olivia Welch.

International Intern

The International Internship is offered as part of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Melbourne and the Australia Council for the Arts.  The intern undertakes a range of arts administrative roles during the Vernissage period, including events coordination, stakeholder management and marketing and communications, gaining an insight into high-level project management of a complex, multi-faceted international project.

The Intern for 2015 is Jake Swinson (Vic).

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