Desart > Programs & services > Art Worker Program

This stream of Desart’s service supports Aboriginal art workers within Desart’s membership.

The program provides training, mentoring and employment opportunities for a substantial number of Aboriginal art workers across the membership.  From inception, art workers have guided the program, and articulated their needs. It has been through these contributions to the program that art workers themselves are furthering to their own development and the success of an innovative program.

The Desart Aboriginal Art Worker Program was established in 2008 to address the low numbers of local Aboriginal people employed in Central Australian Art Centres. Further to this, at the 2013 Art Worker Conference Desart identified that 90% of art workers had literacy and numeracy at or below level one standard.

Art workers bring to their art centre expert knowledge of their community, and how things are done culturally. Some also bring local language skills. These things assist them in their work with artists, elders and managers.

The Art Worker program provides training, mentoring and employment opportunities for a substantial number of Aboriginal people identified as Aboriginal Art Workers;  employed alongside artists and Art Centre Managers in a number of roles including administration, studio support, retail sales support, cultural liaison and translation.  The program aims to support employment and training for Art Workers through identification of training needs, provision of training, on-going mentoring and support for individuals in member organisations.  Long term, the aim is to ensure local Aboriginal people are more involved in the governance, marketing of Aboriginal art in central Australia and have career pathways to management positions.

The Aboriginal Art Worker program currently includes:

  • On-site training and mentoring
  • Professional development opportunities
  • Support for art workers undertaking and accessing both accredited and non- accredited training
  • Annual conference
  • Curatorial Internship
  • Industry Engagement Internship
  • On-going referral
  • Support to develop career pathways