We are proud to be the Education Partner for the 2021 South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival. Our focus is to engage South Australian schools in the festival by providing free registration and a range of SALA school prizes.
We chatted to Tim Prowse, our Chief Operating Officer about why we support the festival, and the impact it can have on South Australian students, schools and communities.
Can you give us a little bit of background about the SALA Festival and our involvement?
SALA Festival is the largest open access visual arts festival in Australia, with an audience of over 850,000 in 2019. It’s also the only festival that takes place in every local council in South Australia, with the 2019 festival involving nearly 10,000 amateur, emerging and professional artists in 700+ exhibitions from Mt. Gambier to Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY Lands).
There was no doubt we wanted to get involved with such a successful and iconic festival. SALA has been an integral part of the South Australian arts and festival program for 24 years now and we think there’s huge potential for it to continue growing.
We became the SALA Education Partner in 2017 where we started with 16 School entries which grew to 40 by 2019. And we’d love to see 75 to 100 schools participating this year!
So what kind of benefits have you seen over the years?
The SALA festival gives students the opportunity to tell their story, to hear the stories of other students and to actively embrace and participate in the exploration and expression of social justice issues in new ways.
It’s been amazing to see students of all ages covering topics in their art as varied as environmentalism, cultural diversity, gender stereotypes, inclusiveness, bullying and grief, with some really creative approaches to sharing their stories.
Some students that participate in the festival are extremely talented in their chosen visual medium. It’s been really gratifying to see the passion and energy of the teachers who are giving the kids an opportunity to showcase their talents, at the same time as building self-confidence and allowing them to consider the full range of possible futures that lie ahead.
The teachers in these schools are doing incredible work and the SALA Festival is playing a really important part by supporting and encouraging them to experiment. For those schools who have been fortunate enough to win one of the school prizes, it’s also providing important funding to keep nurturing and developing the students.
Confidence and pride
For many students, the festival is the first opportunity they have to exhibit their work to the public. Teachers have spoken about seeing positive behavioural changes in students as they not only gain confidence from taking on new challenges and being recognised and rewarded for their work but also, from learning important skills that go far beyond the art techniques, with many helping to organise the exhibitions and speaking publically for the first time.
Research shows that visual arts programs provide students with demonstrable improvements in a wide range of skills such as creativity, accountability and collaboration, but most importantly aids with the development of empathy.
Allowing students to be both creators and thoughtful perceivers of art, helps students develop their capacity to empathise and understand that everyone has a unique experience and perspective.
It's that high level of empathy that we want to tap into and nurture within schools as the Education Partner.
Easy, free and prizes to be won
We are covering the SALA registration fees for schools to make it easier for them to get involved, and registrations can be easily completed online.
Best of all, every school exhibition registered in the SALA Festival is automatically entered into the Credit Union SA School Awards and has the opportunity to win the top prize of $2,500 or $1,000 commended prize. The winners will be announced at a special school awards ceremony in September.
Registrations are open until Monday May 10 2021. So, why not register your school today.
Want to find out more?
If you would like to find out more about the festival, visit the SALA website.