What do a Master of Fine Art, Australia Zoo, and 55 Arthur Creative artists have in common? Quite a bit, it turns out.
Jess Schroeter has been with Arthur Creative for ages, and that includes since it was a small independent studio.
“It was a very small operation, and they needed someone to print up some artwork for them that artists in the studio had already made, so then I got my foot in the door with Arthur for further down the track,” she explained.
She was already well-familiar with the academic arts culture. As Jess puts it, she has a life-long love of learning. After she finished her Fine Arts Degree, Jess went on to complete her Masters in Fine Art. Then she studied teaching too.
Meanwhile, she was falling more and more in love with the local arts culture.
“Ballarat’s a small arts community, which is nice, so you kind of get to know what’s around,” said Jess.
Jess’ experience, passion, talent, education, qualifications - well, all of it really – made her a perfect fit for Arthur Creative.
“I started on the Board some time ago, as a creative artist. That’s how I initially got involved with Arthur Creative, and then later on I became involved with the artists and working there.”
She started out doing screen printing workshops, which are still an incredibly popular class.
“It’s a lovely little group, and we’ve had lots of artists come through the screen printing studio. Some artists stay for a long time, and others come through. Some have been around longer than I have, so they are veterans, and others are in high school. It is very accessible. If you’re trying visual arts for the first time it’s a lovely way of doing that. It’s a really nice medium to help people work in because you don’t have to try and do one big painting. You can just kind of try it and see what you like.”
Now, Jess is Arthur’s Arts Practitioner and she is a fine fit for the job. As she points out, she is very much a facilitator. Sure, she’s organised the successful markets and sales for the studio - but it is the Arthur artists who decide what they want to do and how. Jess just helps make it happen.
“We had the screen printing workshops before Covid-19. But then during Covid-19 we had to be very flexible, as everyone had to be, and it made us develop our products a little bit differently.
“We’re doing a fundraiser for bushfire affected wildlife. It’s fantastic because the artists are very aware of things in the news and wanting to help others, and it’s really nice to support them to do that. They came up with the project idea, and we just helped facilitate it.”
The Arthur Creative artists made cards featuring native animals and they’re selling them, with proceeds being donated to Australia Zoo.
“They had to research their animals – frogs and lizards and koalas and well-known animals as well,” Jess explained.
“They’re still for sale, we made a lot of them before Covid-19 and also t-shirts and tote bags. They’re for sale in the office, or through Facebook if people in the Ballarat area can pick them up.”
“Each artist works on their own designs and concepts and they bring in what they would like to do, and we support them to bring whatever projects they’d like to, to life.”
Still driven by the beautiful products of the Arthur artists, Jess is now working towards putting up an online store.
“We’re working on the online store because that would make our audience bigger.”
There are now about 55 artists at Arthur Creative, making beautiful products that are increasingly available to buy.
In addition to the ‘pop-up’ markets, the usual annual Christmas market is supplied with the artists’ unique artwork transferred onto products including wrapping paper, cushion covers, tea towels, cards and scarves. Along with the online store, there are also plans to sell products at local markets.
Arthur Creative is on Instagram and Facebook - @Arthur3Creative – so please make sure to follow to keep up-to-date with the latest products available and find out more about upcoming exhibitions and events.