A win/win

Blue Oyster Art Project Space appreciates the reciprocity of benefits through having Art students as volunteers, interns and work-placement students.

Blue Oyster Art Project Space in Dunedin is a not for profit art gallery operated by a charitable trust. It exists to enable emerging and experimental artists, writers and curators to work free from commercial restraints in an innovative and experimental environment. The Trust aims to broaden an interest and understanding of contemporary art by providing a diverse and energetic forum for critical dialogue around a yearly programme of exhibitions, projects, events and publications. All exhibitions and events are free to attend, the space offering an environment of criticality, community, support and learning.

Grace Ryder, the current Director, says that the space has hosted countless Art student volunteers to date. Last year Sam Mitchell helped establish a library, to make their artist books, publications, zines, films and records available for people to use in their back room. This year another student, Emily Crossens, has been working on a database of the library so that more people are aware of this library resource and can easily access material. Two other students, Jenny Hercus and Lara Nicholls, are currently undertaking work-placements at Blue Oyster, working on marketing, promotion and hospitality, for example distributing posters around the city, and helping at exhibition openings and events.

The gallery always values volunteer support; the students help the gallery while the gallery is also helping the students. Grace understands that having students volunteer is a really big learning opportunity for them, giving them a behind the scenes introduction to the industry and to the local and national arts community.