Operation Art, the premier NSW visual arts exhibition for school students from kindergarten to year 10, recently opened at Sydney Olympic Park and you can visit this inspiring exhibition, which is open daily at the Armory Gallery until 27 October.
This is a great event for Sydney Olympic Park. We work with our partners, The Children’s Hospital, Westmead and the NSW Department of Education and Communities to support Operation Art because it fits perfectly with so many of our objectives — it brings people to the Park; it encourages and celebrates people participating in the arts; it progresses the Park’s educational goals through a program of art workshops that augment the exhibition; and it gives us a chance to work with other government agencies to provide opportunities for our young people. Along with ARTEXPRESS at the Armory, Operation Art has made Sydney Olympic Park the home of quality art exhibitions with a strong educational focus.
So, how do we make Operation Art happen?
The real work begins when entries start pouring into the Operation Art offices from schools throughout NSW. Back at the Armory Gallery, the project team meets and tradesmen start busily patching, painting and reconfiguring the walls and exhibition furniture in readiness for the arrival of the artworks. Once all the pictures have been framed off site, they are freighted over to the Armory Gallery. While some of the team are busily unpacking all 897 artworks, our hanging team is measuring up the available wall space to determine the best approach to displaying the works so that all can be clearly seen by visitors. Then its ‘hang on to your spirit levels’ as we work towards our deadline to get all of the works hanging straight on the wall. Then, its time to wheel in the scissor lift and do an ‘aim and point’ of the exhibition lighting, while the rest of the team is busy adding attribution plaques and exhibition signage.
In the meantime, our graphic design team is busy laying out the colourful directional signage, including stunning new pavement signage that guides visitors to the Gallery.
With the opening looming, the arts and events team click into gear for the ‘bump in’: gallery attendants are trained; prizes judged; the stage is erected; catering tents set up; electricity hooked up; buses booked; car parking organised; speeches written; cleaners, landscapers and rangers briefed; audio booked; and, last but not least, portaloos installed!
Come event day, there are votive offerings to the weather gods, who – touch wood – have always smiled on Operation Art openings. The challenge now is to get 5,000 people into the precinct and ensure that they can all see little Johnny or Susie’s artwork, find a park, catch a shuttle bus, grab a coffee, feed the family, and have a great day out. And guess what? Mission accomplished.