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Closure of Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney

The Australian Centre for Photography once hosted Australia’s elite cohort of photographers. It can no longer afford to remain open. ‘ACP was part of the cultural fabric of Sydney and it welcomed everyone in’.

The official statement reads: The Australian Centre for Photography (ACP), Australia’s oldest and arguably most significant photography arts organisation announces it will go into hibernation from December 16 with a plan to restructure its vital contribution to the arts landscape in Australia.

Sydney, Australia: The Board of the Australian Centre for Photography (ACP), Australia’s oldest and arguably most significant photography arts organisation, has today announced it is moving the organisation into a period of hibernation to stem the risk of ongoing financial losses and protect the capital in an investment fund it considers vital to its long-term viability.

ACP Chairman, Michael Blomfield said: “While the decision we have made to move the organisation into a period of hibernation is a painful one, the Board believes that securing our long-term future in any form requires the protection of our capital now. In the face of massively reduced income in the COVID era, and the reality that our organisation will not receive any operational funding from federal or state funding bodies for the next three years as a minimum, it is clear that continuing to operate in our current form is a pathway to extinction.”

 Like most arts organisations – particularly in the current environment – the ACP is loss-making in the absence of public funding. By protecting its investment funds from further losses, the organisation will ensure it is able to find and fund a new form of existence. Extensive consultation will be undertaken with stakeholders with a view to finalising a pathway to a permanent presence by July 2021.

 Director and CEO, Pierre Arpin said: “The history of the ACP always was, and continues to be, of an organisation that put photography as an art form first and foremost. We have been able to achieve this thanks to the dedicated and passionate people involved in the organisation. This is an opportune time to think about what role the ACP can continue to play in supporting the place of photography and image making in our lives.”

 Operating since 1974, Sydney-based organisation, the ACP has been a vital part of the ecosystem of photography, having conducted thousands of training courses ranging from the basics of SLR photography right through to masterclasses and private tuition. Throughout its time it has been known for the quality of its tutors, many of whom have taught with the ACP over decades.

 The ACP has a proud history as an exhibitor and commissioner of Australian photographic artists, including works by Bill Henson, William Yang, Tracey Moffatt and Trent Parke, as well as the incredibly successful 2017 exhibition Under The Sun: Reimagining Max Dupain’s Sunbaker, that saw 15 Australian artists commissioned to create new work to respond to Dupain’s iconic work.

The organisation will cease its current form of operation on 16 December following the Photostart 2020 exhibition.

Photostart 2020 is a vibrant and diverse exhibition of lens-based practice, from architecture to fashion, studio work to street photography. The exhibition will also showcase the works of the ACP student community who completed photographic courses 2020. The opening night will include the announcement of the 7 Wentworth Selborne Award ($2,000) for the best overall photograph.  The exhibition, which also features current work by ACP tutors, runs from 3-16 December at the ACP Project Space Gallery in Darlinghurst.

The ACP is dedicated to supporting photographic artists in Australia and it intends to honour this legacy with the transition to a new way of operating. The restructure will place artists at the centre of its decision making to deliver positive opportunities for the new iteration of the ACP to be announced in 2021.

ACP Chairman, Michael Blomfield, says: “Calling a halt now allows us to protect the capital we have and undertake a period of consultation with stakeholders as to how we use that capital to create a permanent legacy for the organisation.”

Further information in this article 

see the ACP website here:

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Comment by Jim Burant on December 1, 2020 at 14:53

So many cultural organizations are struggling due to this world-wide pandemic. From the information provided here this appears to be a move designed to protect the long-term survival of the organization. I'd like to wish them luck.

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