Words by Scott Pollock
All new business ventures whether in the art world or any other world always need a tick of approval from colleagues and professionals in a similar field. Culture Scouts is no different. It was only a month ago that Head Scout, Emilya Colliver, laid herself on the line by organising a Culture Scouts Tour for media and high profile ambassadors of the art world. This tour which is only one of the tours that Culture Scouts offers, was located in Newtown and highlights the Street Art of the surrounding laneways.
One of the people who attended was the CEO and Group Fairs Director of Art Fairs Australia, Barry Keldoulis. Barry is the man behind the Sydney Contemporary art fairs and the 2014 Melbourne Art Fair. He is highly respected and his opinion and comment is renowned to be honest, researched and professional. Not only that, in the 1980s, he was Chief of Staff to ‘Art Tsar’ the Honorable Henry Geldzahler, Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City of New York, and hanging with theneo-conceptualists and graffiti artists downtown, which gives him a very 'savvy' licence to comment on a tour based on Street Art.
As Barry has always been interested in Emilya's new initiatives he was happy to share his thoughts with us.
The content of the tour impressed Barry as did the guide, Melinda Vassallo; "It was great to have a local expert like Melinda as the guide. She was very knowledgeable about the artists, the different styles, and the history. There was a good variety ofworks – 2 and 3D – and different, personally engaging elements. The residents need to be engaged, they need to find the work either entertaining or aesthetically pleasing for it to survive. Melinda explained that a number of councils are now looking at street art differently- they realise that, like in Melbourne, it is becoming an attraction, so they are looking at ways to make it more accepted."
When asked who he thought would enjoy such a tour, Barry's love for the visual arts was apparent. "I think any one who is interested in visual language will love it. We are very visual creatures, and our visual language is becoming more powerful; look at how Instagram has overtaken other social media platforms like Facebook and twitter. Partly I suspect because it confirms the old saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’! Also the visual is universal, not beholden to language barriers, it can be political , it can be humorous, and it has instantaneous impact. To me that was what the tour was about."
The great thing about Barry's comments is that it highlights that Culture Scouts is unique, educational and delivers an experience that showcases the power of visual arts. To me it sounds like a tick of approval.