Architecture inspiring art

Art is at the centre of any creative city. It reflects who we are and inspires ideas. Soho’s Kashmir development is a piece of artwork in its own right. Crafted by expert designers, its inventive architecture and landscaping sparks the imagination. The Soho Precinct provides the perfect canvas for Art Group to facilitate Canberra’s growing arts community.

The Art Group Fellowship was established in 2017, sponsoring artists at the Canberra Glassworks to further their craft. Mel Douglas was a 2021 benefactor of the Fellowship, receiving unlimited access to the studio and equipment.

The opportunity has enabled her to create new and focused bodies of work for future national and international exhibitions. 

‘The Creative Fellowship has also provided me with time to take an experimental approach to developing new ideas and ways of working,’ she says. ‘It has allowed me to develop a body work which explores the potential, versatility and flexibility of glass as a material for drawing.’

Mel Douglas

‘I think Canberra is starting to be seen more as an arts precinct. More emerging artists are starting to establish themselves here, and their fantastic work is being incorporated into more spaces.’

‘We do have all of the major cultural institutions but we also have a very strong community of artists working across many different mediums and a lot of them have international practices.’

Mel draws inspiration from her environment, including Canberra’s architecture. She finds beauty and consideration in the way the Capital was set out and its different architectural designs, including its 1950s brutalist buildings.

‘The Canberra arts scene is becoming more integrated in the landscape of Canberra,’ she says. ‘If you walk through any new buildings, public spaces, we are starting to see more art from the Capital being featured which is really fantastic. More Canberra artists are starting to be recognised.’

‘During this residency, working alongside other Australians, who are the at the top of their fields, has reminded me of how much expertise and innovation we have in our own backyard,’ she says. ‘It has instilled how important it is that this is recognised and utilised within our own community.’

Art is at the centre of any creative city. It reflects who we are, invigorates spaces and inspires ideas. In Canberra, it can been seen in every corner, from its many public sculptures and monuments, to some of Australia’s finest galleries and museums.

More public spaces in the nation’s capital are being transformed into artworks, and smaller galleries are allowing local artists to continue their practice. But not without support. Art Group sees value in investing in the arts. It’s that such investment, that Mel says helps the Canberra arts community thrive. 

Read more about the Art Group Fellowship on Canberra Glassworks website. See more of Mel Douglas' internationally recognised work on her website www.meldouglasglass.com.