We are excited to welcome Katy Warner to the ACF team. Katy is a playwright and author, who is currently finishing off her second YA novel. She is passionate about supporting independent artists and will be working alongside Syrie Payne, our ACF manager, to help artists reach their fundraising goals.
What are you most excited about in your new role as Australian Cultural Fund Officer?
I am really looking forward to working with all our artists and organisations but I must admit I am particularly excited to work with independent artists. I think the ACF is a real game changer for independent artists and the small-to-medium sector – not only raising funds for incredible projects but through building ongoing relationships with donors and supporters. I am excited to play my small part in supporting artists in their campaigns, so they can reach their goals and make some incredible art.
Tell us a bit of background on your pre-Creative Partnerships life and some career highlights.
I grew up in WA and moved east to study at the Victorian College of the Arts. I wasn’t meant to stay here but I have now lived in Naarm / Melbourne for 12 years! Oops. My life in the arts started as an actor but I slowly discovered I much preferred writing the scripts than learning them. I’ve written a number of plays – many of these have toured nationally, and a couple have had international productions. In 2019 my first YA novel, Everywhere Everything Everyone, was published by Hardie Grant. I am now working on my second novel, another YA for Hardie Grant, which will be released in 2022. Alongside my creative practice, I had a former career as a Drama teacher. And, most recently, was the Creative Producer for Schools Engagement at Arts Centre Melbourne – where I developed programs and resources for teachers and students.
What do you think are the most important focuses for artists and arts organisations seeking private sector support in the post-COVID environment?
I think it is going to be vital to build strong relationships. Focusing on making meaningful connections and building on-going and active engagement with the private sector is really important. COVID showed us how much we need connection and community, and how much we relied on the arts to provide it. I am optimistic that people will remember that but it might be worth reminding them! I think it’s important for artists and arts organisations to clearly and confidently tell their story and outline the impact of support from the private sector. I think people genuinely want to be involved and feel a part of the journey, even if they are unable to create the art themselves.
Tell us about a really great piece of art you experienced recently.
I had booked in for a lot of Rising Festival events. It was such an incredible line-up and absolutely devastating for the artists, the Festival team and Victoria when so many events had to be cancelled. I thought I was going to miss out on all of it, so was pretty thrilled when Rising were able to extend Patricia Piccinini’s exhibition – A Miracle Constantly Repeated. Somehow my timing worked out and I got to see it in between lockdowns. The use of the abandoned Flinders Street ballroom was ingenious. And Piccinini’s work was just sublime. Creepy and unsettling but also beautiful and thought-provoking. It was something else. And it will stay with me for a long time – the way all great art should, right?
What’s your most loved Melbourne past time?
Bookshops, coffee, footy and theatre. Not necessarily in that order. I also love a good picnic in Carlton / Edinburgh / Fitzroy Gardens.
When Australia’s borders open up again where is the first place you would love to travel?
Anywhere. Honestly. Just get me on a long-haul flight. I’ll even take the middle seat. I just miss travelling so much.