Home / World News / Family of late art patron Judy Wheeler establishes decade-long commission at PICA

Family of late art patron Judy Wheeler establishes decade-long commission at PICA

The family of late art patron Judy Wheeler has donated $300,000 to the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art to establish a decade-long commissioning program.

The largest gift in PICA’s history, which came from her husband and children Tom and Genevieve, will fund an annual commission of an Australian visual artist to create a site-specific work responding physically or conceptually to the architecture and history of the Perth Cultural Centre stalwart.

PICA chair Mark Clapham thanked the Simpson family for their “leadership, trust and inspirational generosity” in funding the Judy Wheeler Commission.

“This is a significant milestone for PICA that demonstrates the value we hold in the community and the bold plans we have for the future,” he said.

“The Judy Wheeler Commission will provide high-profile opportunities for Australian contemporary artists to create ambitious and accessible new site-responsive works befitting PICA’s iconic status.

“We hope the Simpson family’s gift will inspire others to think big.”

Born in 1954 and raised in Gosford, NSW, Wheeler studied at the National Institute of Dramatic Art for a year before obtaining a teaching diploma at Sydney Teachers College and a bachelor of arts from Flinders University.

She worked as a town councillor and owned a bookshop, while displaying an enduring love for the arts.

We hope the Simpson family’s gift will inspire others to think big.

Wheeler, who died in 2010 after a long illness, funded WA’s T.A.G. Hungerford literary award and amassed a substantial collection of Australian prints and paintings.

Through the Judy Wheeler Commission, PICA aims to activate the entrances, lobby, foyer and stairwells of the PICA building.

Each commission will be installed for up to a year, commencing January 2023.

Tom Simpson said that the commission should benefit both artists and art lovers.

“Relative to other galleries, PICA has always stood out to me for its efficiency,” he said.

“It thus seemed to have the greatest potential to make the donation go a long way.

“In addition to my late mother’s passion for the arts, this donation felt appropriate given that COVID has hurt Australia’s cultural section far more than most other areas of the economy,” Mr Simpson added.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what eventuates from this commission, especially 10 years from now when there’s a substantial body of work to look back on.”

The commission will be awarded each year through a competition process, including an annual open call for proposals.

A panel comprising a PICA representation and “independent industry experts” will assess applications before PICA selects one artist from a three-strong shortlist.

This donation felt appropriate given that COVID has hurt Australia’s cultural section far more than most other areas of the economy.

The institute said they are committed to a diverse representation of artists across the 10 years of the program.

PICA director Amy Barrett-Lennard said commissioning new work is one of the best ways to support artists.

“It often enables the next big step in an artistic practice and those all-important career-enhancing moments,” she said.

“The Judy Wheeler Commission will directly support Australian visual artists to create significant new site-specific work within a much-loved building at the heart of the Perth Cultural Centre.

“I’m excited about how the program will welcome and attract visitors to PICA, while contributing to a new understanding of its site, architecture, history and potential.”

The first call for applications opens April 4 and closes May 29, with the inaugural recipient of the Judy Wheeler Commission due to be announced in July.

About brandsauthority

Check Also

Premier rejects fears over luring child protection boss

South Australia can compete with other jurisdictions in the hunt for a new child protection …

%d bloggers like this: