Thank You & Farewell to the 2013-14 Firstdraft Directorate
The 2014-15 Firstdraft Directorate would like to acknowledge the hard work, dedication and passion of the outgoing Directorate of 2013-14 – Wilna Fourie, Andrew Moran, Vaughan O’Connor and JD Reforma.
It is fitting that we thank and farewell this exceptional group with our first News post of our new website, given the firsts that our shared year (2014) saw. 2013-2014 will be remembered as a period of dramatic change for Firstdraft. We were able to offer rent-free shows to artists for the first time, thanks to the tireless efforts of our Grants Committee, Vaughan O’Connor and Wilna Fourie from the 2013-14 Board.
We moved from our Chalmers St home of 19 years to build a new gallery space in the Firstdraft Depot on Riley St. The new galleries boast four distinct spaces, two studio spaces, a new office facility and a large outdoor courtyard. The relocation and renovation was a huge undertaking, with directors playing a hands-on (and at times very dirty!) role in the creation of our new space. Although this was a group effort, particular acknowledgement must be given to Andrew and Vaughan for their knowledge, perseverance and patience with those of us lesser handy-men and women. Both were incredibly generous with their time and knowledge, and together were responsible for much of the design and execution of the space you see today.
2014 also saw the conception, design and content generation for this website. We hoped to deliver a website that was image-led, easy-to-navigate and a point of access for artists, curators, writers and audiences across Australia and internationally. In seeing this vision come to fruition, we must acknowledge the inimitable JD, who went above and beyond the call of duty. His sharp eye, strong aesthetic sense and unwavering commitment were the (sometimes sole) driving force behind the product you are using right now! In his role as Media Liaison, JD also worked tirelessly to build Firstdraft’s profile and strengthen our communications, creating a strong and successful following across a number of platforms.
Our new space also saw a re-commitment to dynamic critical thinking and one-off events. In driving the regeneration of the Firstdraft Writers Program, launched at last year’s Writers Forum, Wilna was pivotal. Her passion for text, critical discussion and forums to bring these things to life has ensured a strong legacy of these public programs at the gallery. Wilna was also responsible for building our volunteer program into a thriving and sustainable community, with numbers and retention at an all-time high at the time of her departure.
2014 was successful in many ways. Our fundraising auction was the best to date, largely thanks to the efforts of directors in reaching out to artists, promoting to wide networks and hanging a beautiful show. 2014 was led by the tireless Andrew, supported by the whole team. Our program was strengthened by an increased volume of applications and the improved facilities. The new spaces afford us increased opportunity to program sound work and other mediums. The outgoing board played a major role in shaping and supporting this diverse and exciting program, setting a high benchmark for us going forward.
Wilna, Andrew, Vaughan and JD together ushered in this new era for Firstdraft, which looks both back on our almost 30 year history and forward to a long and bright future. We could not have hoped for a better group to guide us in our first year. We’ll miss your passion, humour, energy, and most of all your dancing.
Firstdraft’s back, alright!