Arts / Becoming a confident art collector

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Chairs at M16 -bound to be filled
M16 Artspace in Griffith is taking a second look at the art of “Confident Collecting” in a venture that has surprised even their resourceful chair, Vasiliki Nihas, who first thought up the program last year.

When M16 first had the idea of warming the hearts of art lovers through the worst of Canberra’s winter in 2016, they put out a few chairs expecting just a few punters and found themselves packed to the rafters.

People can fairly bet that hidden in the suburbs of Canberra are many keen art collectors and, “Confident Collecting-The Second Glance” is aimed at both veterans and those just starting out.

Nihas says: “Lots of people are interested in the arts but aren’t always sure of their own taste.”

“This can make them hesitant about buying quality art. We want to grow their interest and enthusiasm so they become more assured, discerning art purchasers, aware of their own aesthetic, the potential for lasting value of acquisitions and what to do when you want to move on from one collection phase to another collecting interest.”

Running over four Mondays beginning next week, each “Confident Collecting” session will feature two speakers who will talk about indigenous, abstract and contemporary art. Participants will also be informed about art markets, galleries and auctions through the eyes of a leading Sydney gallery and an auction house.

The sessions will raise questions like, “Is the only thing that matters that you fall in love with a work or its story?”, “Why are some art works of enduring value while others fall out of fashion?” and “Do we gift, endow, or auction works that we tire of or the next generation may not be interested in?”

“Ultimately, it’s about becoming better informed about both our art choices and the market,” Nihas says.

Looking at feedback from last year’s participants, M16 wants to give participants a chance to explore art through images so they can more intimately understand art styles and best determine the lasting value of art, so all the talks will be accompanied by visual elements.

The opening session on Monday, June 19, is timely and brings together two indigenous speakers, Jackson Taylor Grant, senior indigenous ranger with Healthy Country for the ACT and Cara Kirkwood, senior program producer at the NGA who coordinates the Wesfarmers Leadership and Fellowship Program.

Next up on June 26, introducing abstract art, will be the NGA’s Lara Nicholls teamed with Hamilton Darroch, an artist about to be exhibited in Berlin.

On July 17, NGA curator of Australian Prints and Drawings, Elspeth Pitt, will help those present understand contemporary print collecting. As well, medico, art lover and collector Cameron Webber, who heads up Barton General Practice in Canberra, will tell the story of his journey as an art collector and his work as a doctor in places as remote as the Tanami Desert.

The final session on July 24 will feature Ursula Sullivan, co-director of Sulli-van+Strumpf gallery, Sydney and Singapore. As well, Phillip Jones from Mossgreen will introduce guests to the mysteries of the auction process and how to navigate buying and selling at auctions.

All four sessions will start with nibbles and a glass of wine and a viewing of the current exhibition at M16 Artspace. The two guests will speak from 6.30pm-7.30pm, followed by a half hour question time.

“Confident Collecting-The Second Glance,” at M16Artspace, 21 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith, 6-8pm, Mondays June 19 and 26 and July 17 and 24. Bookings to



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Helen Musa
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