Appreciation for art and its place in the community has grown in recent times and Wagga woman Juanita McLachlan is all for the move towards a more creative society.
After discovering she had Aboriginal heritage only months before beginning a Diploma of Visual Art at TAFE NSW in Wagga in 2017, Ms McLachlan's talents advanced from a hobby to professional art.
Ms McLachlan's cultural discovery inspired the name of her first solo art exhibition, Hidden Hollows, showcasing evocative printmaking artwork.
“It’s part of the reason I called my exhibition Hidden Hollows, because that part of my family was hidden,” Ms McLachlan said.
“Doing art has become a way to connect me back to my culture and country.”
Studying art in a way which promoted it as a viable career option allowed the mum-of-four to reach the point of success she is at now.
In 2011, Ms McLachlan began a Diploma of Visual Art which paved the way for her work.
“The Diploma really forced me to challenge myself,” she said.
TAFE NSW Art and Design Teacher Mary-Jane Griggs said the popularity of the TAFE NSW Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts was reflective of a growing market for arts-based jobs.
New figures revealed the creative industries are worth more than $90 billion to the nation annually, and account for upward of 6 per cent of total employment.
“The whole professionalisation of the arts has created so many jobs,” Ms Griggs said.
“Local government in particular is taking a lead role in establishing cultural policies and ensuring the local cultural scene is vibrant and it’s the TAFE NSW graduates that are securing these positions.
"The sector has grown so much in recent years and there are scores of people now employed in the arts.”
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