StArt Up: Top Arts 2014 – behind the scenes

As with all exhibitions, bringing together Start Up: Top Arts 2014 is a lengthy process involving most departments of the Gallery. It all began in September 2013 when applications opened and by the closing date more than 3000 entries were received from students across Victoria. The six-member selection panel, comprising the NGVs co-curators and senior educator, the state reviewer for Art and state reviewer for Studio Arts and a regional schools representative met over four weekends and were locked in a boardroom where each application was reviewed, debated, reviewed again until the student short list was decided.

These students were asked to bring in their final works and support materials to the holding site at VCAA Coburg.  The selection panel then examined the artworks and folios carefully. The final selection was signed off by the NGV Assistant Director, Curatorial and Collection Management. It is at this stage the involvement of many NGV departments began.

The manager of Cataloguing measured and examined the works to confirm materials used. This information is used for labels, the catalogue and anytime the work is referenced. The Photographers took pictures of all the works with images to be used for all printed collateral. Our Conservator assessed the artworks noting their condition and any preparations required for the display of the works.

The Exhibition Management team oversee the project and Art Services and Registration coordinate the movement of all works and folios through their art handlers who prepared the works for collection by students and for travel to the Gallery. The art handlers are also currently working on the exhibition hang. The Exhibition Designer, in collaboration with the co curators worked on the layout of the NGV Studio space taking into consideration the mediums and size of the artworks as well as any conservation requirements.

The Graphic Designer developed the look and feel for the exhibition publication and other collateral. Marketing have been working on collateral and promotional strategies such as engaging bloggers. Media is currently preparing for the exhibition launch and contacting the local press in regions where the students are from. The Multimedia team have been working on the Top Arts online presence with student profiles and a few selected folios to be available via the Top Arts Hub.

Events and Sponsorship staff are making all the final plans for the opening night which includes the exhibiting students, their families, teachers and principals along with exhibition sponsors and VIPs.  The Education Office Coordinator and Head of Education have been the administrators behind the scenes contacting students from the moment of short listing, requesting artists statements, responses to questions that would make up content in the catalogue and website.

The co-curators have edited all content for the catalogue and website and are also the point of contact with exhibitors to discuss the techniques used to display their works and any special requirements, as well as negotiating schedules for filming students for footage that will be available in the exhibition space.

The Bookings Officers have been very busy taking Top Arts bookings since the beginning of the year and the Educators and Public Programmers have been coordinating programs, writing children’s labels  and preparing introductory talks .

It is a group effort of dedicated NGV staff that make this very popular exhibition of talented VCE Art and Studio Arts students all come together each year. It is a highlight in NGV’s exhibition calendar and the Top Arts team is excited to see it open in its twentieth year at the NGV.

We hope to see you there!