Case Study : Wesfarmers: the National Gallery's Indigenous Arts Partner

In 2009 Wesfarmers partnered with the Gallery to develop the Wesfarmers Indigenous Arts Fellowship and Leadership programs, which aim to address the lack of representation of Indigenous Australians in the administrative and operational side of the arts sector.

Wesfarmers has long worked collaboratively with major arts organisations across the country to foster the cultural life of the community. One of Wesfarmers’ key concerns is promoting Indigenous advancement, through employment, training and community-based programs, which made the partnership with the National Gallery a unique opportunity.

The Wesfarmers Arts Indigenous Fellowship allows two senior-level participants to pursue individual projects over a two-year period with mentoring support from the NGA. The Indigenous Arts Leadership program, a ten-day intensive leadership program run by the National Gallery, introduces entry or mid-level arts professionals to career pathways within the visual arts and museum sector and expands their current skills and experience in the sector.

In 2012 Wesfarmers extended their partnership with the National Gallery to become the Principal Partner of unDisclosed: 2nd National Indigenous Art Triennial, thereby further promoting contemporary Indigenous artists and their practice.

Since the Leadership program commenced 32 participants have graduated and the two Fellows, Jirra Harvey and Glenn Iseger-Pilkington, have played an integral role in the marketing for the 2nd National Indigenous Art Triennial: UnDisclosed.

Wesfarmers received national media coverage in both Indigenous and mainstream media in news, arts and Indigenous affairs sections when the Indigenous Fellowship and Leadership program was launched at the National Press Club in 2009. The announcement in 2011 of Wesfarmers as the Gallery’s official Indigenous Art Partner and exhibition partner for UnDisclosed attracted additional coverage for Wesfarmers as did the official exhibition opening and media announcement in 2012. As the Gallery’s Indigenous Art Partner Wesfarmers have enjoyed many speaking opportunities and accessed special corporate hospitality benefits.

Most importantly, as the Gallery’s official Indigenous Art Partner Wesfarmers has delivered on their commitment of supporting Indigenous development and helped drive necessary and positive change in the arts sector.