The Victorian Government Solicitor's Office - Looking good and doing good

05 November 2019
Art on Display

The VGSO is looking good, feeling good, and doing good with art, hosting artwork from 7 local Melbourne artists in their very first collection of art.

Announcing our latest exhibitor: the Victorian Governor Solicitor’s Office

We’re incredibly excited to welcome the Victorian Governor Solicitor’s Office (VGSO) to our growing network of organisations who are supporting emerging artists and making a positive social impact, all from the comfort of an office now filled with local art that engages everyone who visits. In their very first exhibition, VGSO displays 11 pieces of artwork from seven different local artists.

This comes in no small part from the recent introduction of the Victorian Government’s Social Procurement Framework. As a certified social enterprise via Social Traders, we were able to access this opportunity. For those not familiar with this framework or social procurement, it outlines a positive and vital change to the way government (and other organisations) procures for good, using their buying power to generate social value above and beyond the value of the goods, services, or construction being procured. These policies don’t just apply to the Victorian Government and large organisations; they often extends to Tier 2 and 3 suppliers to encourage supplier diversity.

We thought we’d take this opportunity to go deeper into what this means for ColourSpace, what social impact the VGSO is creating, and exactly what we mean by ‘Look good, feel good, and do good with art’.

Entanglement of Nature
Joe Blundell

Look good with art

Let’s start with the most tangible and visually aspect of what ColourSpace does: Changing artwork in an office or communal environment.

Businesses are competing to create amazing workplaces that look great and stand out in order to attract customers and talent. The modern workforce also expect great work places to work in. But not everyone has the deep pockets of Google or Facebook to create that immersive environment.

Our solution to this is art. But not just hanging art and then leaving it there to fade into the background. What if, by changing the artwork on display, we can help organisations affordably create environments that are constantly changing? What if you could walk into a space that looks and feels different every few months, all without needing to invest in costly refurbishments?

Karen Hopkins (left) and Hsin Lin (trio on right)

Feel good with art

We’re fond of saying that ColourSpace is more than just ‘a picture on the wall’, and we mean it. There’s a growing body of research that demonstrates the benefits of art in a workplace, from increasing productivity, reducing stress, encouraging collaboration and creativity and improving overall quality of life. But why is that important?

The recent Shared Value Project conducted in partnership with PWC brought to the surface a need to focus on mental health, and the important role that businesses can play in addressing this. Scarily, 45% of Australians will experience a lifetime mental illness. For those seeking a quantifiable impact, KPMG have estimated the direct cost of mental health issues on businesses at $13b a year.

We’re by no means suggesting that simply bringing art into the VGSO will save them millions of dollars in lost productivity. But we do know that the hard working people in the VGSO are often faced with tough and challenging conditions. By investing in different ways to integrate mental health initiatives throughout the workplace - as recommended by the Shared Value Project - VGSO is helping create a thriving workplace that genuinely engages the people there.

Lysterfield Trees
Mirabela Varga

That’s the second reason why we change art in a workplace. We’re giving people a reason to stop and look at something different. We want people to learn about what they’re seeing. We want people to debate and discuss and open their minds to new ideas. We want to enrich people’s lives with art. We want to give people a chance to learn about some of the stories, ideas, and emotions from local Australian artists.

To aid those who don’t know how to appreciate art, we provided the VGSO with simple to understand Art Appreciation 101s, and art plaques next to all of the artworks.

Do good with art (our impact)

In order for our lives to be enriched with art, we need a thriving artist community. It’s no secret that funding to the arts has been cut year on year, and it’s harder than ever for the Australian visual arts community. To support them, ColourSpace shares 25% of our rental revenue from each artwork on display at the VGSO with our artists, with all art displayed for sale

Neon Pastel
Belinda Marshall

For artists, it’s not just about selling art; it’s about having meaningful opportunities to get their art out and in front of people. Here’s what we found following our blind survey of over 100 artists whose works have been displayed at ColourSpace clients:

  • More than 80% of our artists felt validated, joyous, and motivated to continue to create art once their art was out on display
  • 35% of the artists also create art for mental health and therapy reasons
  • Almost half of the artists who exhibited with ColourSpace were exposed to more art-related opportunities; both commercial and artistic
  • To date, we have shared over $45,000 in revenue to artists through royalties and sales
Small Pleasures 2
Myra Carter

Myra Carter: “I never could have imagined in a million years that a piece of my artwork would be on the walls of the office of the Governor-Solicitor. Honestly ColourSpace gives me so much motivation, you have no idea!”

Giving back with art

We also want to share the benefits of art with those who can’t afford it. That’s why a further 10% of each artwork on display at the VGSO is currently funding art therapy and creative workshops for children from the Save the Children’s Cubbies program, an initiative that supports children from low socio-economic and often refugee backgrounds.

Changing the we engage with art

Our vision is to make art accessible to organisations and businesses by providing a service that is meaningful and delivers a genuine benefit, so that we can create social and economic opportunities for local Australian artists from all walks of life.

Through the Social Procurement Framework, the VGSO is helping us create this social impact.

Thank you!

Taroona Dreaming and Mother Country
Gregory Matthews

Want to also look good, feel good, and do good with art?

Please feel free to book in your free on-site consultation and let’s talk about how we can bring local art into your space. Beyond our art rental, we also facilitate the sale and commission of artworks, creative team-building events, and pop-up art exhibitions. Contact us today on [email protected] or on 0433 403 044.