South Australia’s newest contemporary art organisation rises from the ashes of Contemporary Arts Centre of South Australia CACSA) and the Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF).
Turbulence, uncertainty, funding cuts. These were the operating conditions for experimental art in South Australia last year.
In May 2016, CACSA and AEAF were gutted, as were 65 regular recipients of national arts funding, in the infamous funding cut bloodbath.
Between them they missed out on close to $150,000 a year in Australia Council funding— for a total of a four-year period. Both managed to hold on to state government funding.
The blow was dealt though, and in early August they announced a merger.
It was a matter of joining forces to prevent the demise of both organisations, insisted Liz Nowell, then CACSA’s executive director.
Last December, the AEAF closed its doors after over 40 years of operation. While CACSA, established in 1942 as the Contemporary Art Society of South Australia, also shut up shop.
Whereas 2016 was a train wreck in many respects, 2017 is already looking up – at least in Adelaide. Last night, the results of the merger were revealed, the amalgamation named ACE Open.
The organisation, born from hardship and uncertainty, put on its debut show – BLACKFLAG by the prominent South Australian painter, Christian Lock.
ACE Open is based out of the former AEAF site, at The Lions Art Centre in North Terrace.
Director/CEO Liz Nowell said in a press release, “ACE, as an acronym that is not fixed, encapsulates our approach to a curatorial practice and rigour that is flexible and constantly evolving, just like the world we live in,”
An ‘unfixed’ acronym suggests that the organisation is responsive to the goings on within it. ACE could stand for Adelaide Cultural Exchange or perhaps Art Contemporary Experimental. It’s an open invitation.
In a show of solidarity, over 500 people attended the inaugural exhibition last night, which was opened by Leigh Robb, Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of South Australia.
We’re wishing ACE Open every success.
Lion Arts Centre
North Terrace (West End) Adelaide SA 5000