The Art Gallery of Western Australia, Autism Association of Western Australia and the AGWA Voluntary Gallery Guides have announced a partnership to support members of the community with Autism, aiming to create inclusive spaces, environments and opportunities within the arts. The collaboration was announced recently as part of the celebration of the winners of the Arts and Autism art competition, run by AGWA and the Autism Association.

Guests listen to Suzie Endersbee talk about winning artwork titled ‘Vegetable Chef with Very Large Carrots’.

The first program announced as part of this initiative is Quiet Tuesdays, designed to provide a more accessible experience to community groups and individuals on a day where the gallery is closed to the general public. Sensitivity to sound and other sensory aspects are common experiences for those with Autism or those who are similarly neurodiverse. The closure of the Gallery means that AGWA can offer a quiet and desensitised experience to those who may require a different environment to appreciate and access the art on display.

Joan McKenna Kerr, CEO of the Autism Association of WA said, “Public spaces belong to everyone and everyone should feel comfortable in them. For this reason, we are thrilled to be part of this partnership to make public spaces inclusive and welcoming to everyone, in particular, people with Autism.”

Joanne McLeod, AGWA Voluntary Gallery Guides President; Joan McKenna Kerr, Autism Association WA CEO; Hon Stephen Dawson MLC, Minister for Disability Services; Hon Michael Mischin, Shadow Minister for Heritage; Culture and the Arts and Colin Walker, AGWA Director. 

The partnership will also present three accessible family days throughout school holidays in 2021, featuring multigenerational art activities, guided tours and low sensory spaces, all run in conjunction with Autism Association staff, AGWA’s Voluntary Gallery Guides and the AGWA Learning team. Gallery staff and guides will also receive ongoing training from the Autism Association.

Director of AGWA, Colin Walker, has stated: “Ensuring the Gallery is an accessible and enjoyable place for everyone is at the core of the Gallery’s forward strategic plan. We are delighted to be partnering with the Autism Association of Western Australia to ensure that the space is inclusive, safe and welcoming for the Autism community.”

Displayed at the launch was a range of artworks submitted as part of the Arts and Autism competition, including the sixteen winners, which can be viewed here.

Community groups interested in the Quiet Tuesday initiative can contact: +61 8 9492 6600 or email [email protected]

Header Image: Autism in the arts partnership launch VIP event at AGWA, Tuesday 17 November 2020


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