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  • Shelley Pisani

Why to artsworkers do what they do?

At the Design CQ Exhibition Panel Discussion held at QCA Galleries a couple of weeks ago, panel facilitator Rebecca McDuff asked me what motivates me to keep doing what I do as an artsworker. There are so many things that I think fellow artsworkers would agree with me on. Whilst we are often in the background, we choose to be there. We want others that we work with to shine. The rewards come from things like:

  • seeing people grow in confidence within their creative practice

  • witnessing artists reap the benefits of their hard work and talent

  • supporting communities to share important stories

  • watching artists really hit their stride with projects

Image: Panel Discussion for Design CQ in Bundaberg in July 2022. L-R - Karen M Anderson, Kellie McHugh, Jane Marin, Shelley Pisani and Rebecca McDuff


That same day, I had a couple of people share with me that advice or opportunities I had provided over the years had opened doors in their arts careers. I love hearing these stories, even sometimes a decade later. It's not an ego thing. It is the ultimate "warm fuzzy" as a dear friend calls it. Those moments that just make your heart sing knowing you have made a difference.


Sometimes, special moments just happen.


Later that night, I walked back to the exhibition at Machinery Street with a couple of friends, one of whom is in the exhibition. One of many friendships born out of the CQ Shopfront and Makers' Shopfront projects over the last few years. What happened in that moment is why I do what I do. She looked at her work on display. A regional artist - on show in Brisbane. Her hand covered her mouth and tears came to her eyes as she expressed her absolute delight at feeling seen. We all hugged and shed a tear. That's what it is all about.

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