The Art of Fundraising Conference

A City of Burnside Local Arts Support Subsidy helped send Beth Shimmin to Sydney

Our Marketing and Development Executive, Beth Shimmin, was recently granted a City of Burnside Local Artist Support Subsidy, which provided valuable funds for her to attend The Art of Fundraising conference in Sydney. Beth shares her reflections and learnings below.

Co-presented by Creative Partnerships Australia, the 2016 Culture Business Art of Fundraising conference was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, from 21-23 March. The impressive program featured 35 speakers from arts and business sectors from Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Antwerp, Baltimore, and across Australia. The lengthy list of attendees included a mix of development, fundraising, and marketing professionals, as well as company CEOs and directors, also from around the world.

The conference was an exciting, valuable professional development and networking opportunity and with the help of the City of Burnside’s Local Artist Support Subsidy and also full support from the School, I was fortunate to able to attend from 22-23 March.

Highlights of the first day included the charismatic Jonathon Holloway (former director of the Perth International Arts Festival) who spoke about the bumpy road of yes’ and no’s in fundraising and sponsorship. Fady Taouk, General Manager Telstra THANKS Loyalty program, spoke with refreshing honesty about being on the giving side of partnerships and sponsorships. The entire trip would have been worthwhile had I only caught the talk from Annie Burridge from Opera Philadelphia, who brought the organisation back from the cusp of closure and turned it into an impressively successful and innovative arts organisation.

I was also fortunate to meet Helen Maidens, Sponsorship Manager at National Art School (NAS) in Darlinghurst, on Day 1 of the conference. While not fully independent like Adelaide Central School of Art is, NAS is the only other single-focus art school in Australia and a valuable place to visit and network.  I was able to attend the opening of the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize at NAS whilst there and see their gallery and events team in action.

The final day of The Art of Fundraising conference was just as inspiring and thought provoking. Without a doubt, the presentation from Director and CEO of the Australian Museum, Kim McKay, about ‘closing the deal’ was the highlight and most valuable to listen to. As well as soaking up significant key learnings and connecting with arts professionals from around the world, I also had enough time to check out the Grayson Perry exhibition and the MCA component of the Sydney Biennale, before catching my flight back home.

Not only did I increase my sponsorship, fundraising and business development acumen exponentially, I made some important connections with other arts organisations that will no doubt lead to some exciting community engagement developments for Adelaide Central School of Art in the near future.

Attending the Art of Fundraising conference has been one of the best professional development and learning opportunities of my arts marketing career so far and I am incredibly grateful to Ingrid and the School for their encouragement and support of me attending, and also to the City of Burnside for their valuable financial support.