Australia’s largest student art collection goes online

Independent Schools Victoria has launched what will eventually be Australia's largest collection of student art – initially featuring the works of almost 100 students selected for this year's Annual Student Art Exhibition.

Australia’s largest collection of student art is set to go online, hosting thousands of artworks in a unique interactive resource for teachers and researchers – and an accessible viewing platform for the wider community.

Called isArtworks, the online gallery will display more than 3000 works of art submitted to the Annual Student Art Exhibition conducted by Independent Schools Victoria over the past 15 years.

The first artworks in the gallery are 91 works created by students from nine diverse Independent schools selected for display in this year’s exhibition, which has its virtual opening today.

The physical exhibition is on display at The District, in Melbourne’s Docklands, until the end of Term 4. You can enjoy a virtual tour of the exhibition in the video below.

The new online platform also allows the community to view the exhibition if social distancing remains in force due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The massive task of sorting, cataloguing and adding descriptive text and other educational resources to more than 3000 art works from previous years that will be added to isArtworks is expected to be complete in the second half of 2021.

‘This will form a unique and dynamic collection,’ ISV Chief Executive Michelle Green said. ‘There’s nothing like isArtworks in Australia – and there are very few, if any, collections of similar scope anywhere else.’

Anne Smith, ISV’s Arts Learning Executive, said the online gallery will be a rich resource for art teachers and researchers looking at the role of the arts in school education.

‘It’s not just a passive place for viewing,’ Ms Smith said. ‘It’s about art working in an active way.’

The gallery’s design enables teachers to curate tailored packages of student artwork to support classroom activities, enhanced by additional resources provided by ISV and partner organisations, and other cultural bodies.

Ms Smith said it would also become a valuable resource for researchers.

‘It will allow researchers to build a picture of the changing face of art works and arts education, and to show the evolving complexity of students’ ideas and styles,’ she said.

‘One of its unique features will be its range, going back to our first exhibition in 2005 and being continually built on into the future, making it a living history of arts education.’

Ms Green, who opened this year’s exhibition and launched isArtworks, said ISV was determined that the exhibition will go ahead, despite COVD-19 restrictions.

‘We are committed to promoting the role of the arts in the lives and education of school students, regardless of impediments,’ she said.

Explore isArtworks

Main image artwork

The artwork featured on this post is Discord – Oil on canvas, Jessica Stewart, Year 12, Gippland Grammar

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