West Space is a non-profit artist-led organisation supporting the activities of artists within a critical context. Founded in 1993, West Space has developed a significant reputation amongst Australian and international arts organisations. This has been forged through a sustained belief in the importance of artist-run culture to practitioners, audiences and the art industry, and has manifested in a critically renowned exhibition program and a prolific range of self-generated projects and publications.
West Space currently situates itself in a dynamic space between an artist-run space and a contemporary art space. We believe this new model of an artist led organisation plays a crucial role in creating a robust and diverse Australian arts culture, supporting grass roots artistic activity with organisational support. Artists are embedded across all levels of our organisation (from Board, Programing Committee, Staff and volunteers), and we are fully engaged with the multiplicity of practices that artists employ and act as a working model that gives artists direct control over the means and conditions of presenting their work to the public.
West Space programming foregrounds engaged artistic practice, which is challenging, experimental, exploratory, and diverse. We contribute to Australian contemporary culture and the arts industry by presenting an inter-disciplinary program of exhibitions, performances, events and publications (online and print), alongside discursive initiatives such as public and educational programs, artist talks, workshops and lectures. Each year West Space presents a critically engaged artistic program, supporting a range of practices at various stages of research, generation and presentation.
We engage emerging and established practitioners working in a range of media and artforms, including visual arts, craft, writing, design, new music, sound, performance, multi and new media. While a majority of artists exhibiting at West Space are young or emerging, there is an increasing number of mid career and established artists that actively choose to exhibit at West Space. This is due to West Space offering a space for artistic freedom and supporting artists and experimental art practices that are not represented by commercial galleries or larger institutions.
West Space remains committed to a dual programming model with 70% of our program selected through peer-assessed open applications alongside internally generated curatorial projects. We currently have enormous demand on our space, receiving 450+ applications per year to exhibit, of which approximately 30 are successful.
West Space has a minimal staffing structure who report to a Board, made up of a majority of artists. West Space is registered as a not for profit organisation and a tax deductible gift recipient.
West Space is generously assisted by: the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria; and the City of Melbourne, through their Arts and Culture department. We would also like to thank The Ian Potter Foundation and the Sidney Myer Foundation for their wonderful support of our organisation.
West Space is a member of CAOs, Contemporary Art Organisations Australia network.