Roomies Arts (RA) become an independent organisation in 2015 with a vision to promote the creative expression and professional development of artists with a disability. Prior to this we were known as Roomies Artspace running a supported studio program since 1996 (see history below).
Roomies Arts is committed to inclusion and access to the arts for people with disabilities. We have a strong history and vision in the area of supported studios and the promotion of our artists. These artists have found some success in the commercial world of art and have had opportunities created so they can develop their practice.Roomies Arts will continue in the promotion of our artists and their art, and in advocacy for the integration of artists with disabilities with the greater artistic community. As such, we work to be part of the greater dialogue on the arts and bringing our experience with artists with disabilities into that conversation.
Roomies Arts Video – showing artists as part of Roomies Artspace
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Roomies Artspace started as a series of art workshops for residents of Inner West boarding houses in 1996 and 1997 by KANCAM (later Inner West Cultural Services). By 1999, this developed into fortnightly art workshops at the Tom Foster Community Centre in Newtown under the aegis of Newtown Neighbourhood Centre’s (NNC) Boarding House Project (this fortnightly group still continues today at Tom Foster) Artists were soon showing and selling their work through exhibitions organised by the team and other opportunities.
The art space evolved from the need for some artists wanting to explore their practice further and find a permanent space where they could have the opportunity to work when they needed. Ideally it would be in a location that was affordable had an established art community and environment that would enhance their artistic experience rather than isolate them.
In 2005 the dream became a reality and a space came available in a suitable location and close proximity to participants residence. With the generous support from community members, Terry Cutcliffe and the Addison Rd Art Centre, Roomies were able to secure a lease in Hut 43 in the Addison Rd Centre (ARC) and begin creating a permanent space of their own.
The studio ran till 2014 with great success in building the creative and artistic life of the artists with many having exhibitions in professional galleries. In 2014 NNC decided Roomies was not part of their future vision and Roomies went independent. However in this process we had to let go of the studio at ARC.
Roomies Arts connects people living with mental health issues and intellectual disabilities to be engaged in the creative process.
Roomies Arts aims to enhance participants’ artistic experience by providing access to professional development and links to the broader art community, with the opportunity to have their artwork viewed in a professional context.
Roomies Arts Artists will have the opportunity and choice to participate in cultural activities such as exhibitions and art events. Artists are able to contribute to their community by running workshops and exhibiting their work.
Roomies Arts will work to give them a presence and promotion in the virtual world through our website/blog and social pages.