The Artists’ Paradise, or TAP for short, is one of Sydney’s longest-running artist-run spaces, also set in the Surry Hills area of Sydney. Established in 1989, it’s been at the heart and soul of Sydney’s burgeoning art scene for three decades, with regularly changing exhibits and the chance to talk to the artists about their work. Its entirely uncurated approach means that it’s open to artists of all genres to exhibit or perform their work, making it one of the most exciting galleries to visit in Sydney.
Established in 1989, TAP Gallery is and artist-run organisation, run by volunteers, with member’s subscriptions, donations and financial support.
TAP Gallery is an open-policy community art space providing a platform for all artists and community groups to voice their message. This includes emerging artists from the prominent local Arts Institutions close by, many ethnic community groups, charities and also the homeless and disadvantaged. TAP provides opportunity for these groups to have a voice, gain invaluable experience for the future and opportunities to raise funds. They are afforded freedom of expression; are given the opportunity to communicate to a wider audience, and in so doing, helps shift and broaden public awareness. TAP’s guiding philosophy and policy is to be inclusive of all.
TAP is an Incorporated Association (NON Profit) run by a steering committee who manage the space, administrate, oversee maintenance of the space, and help the artist present & promote their work through TAP’s comprehensive website.
TAP Gallery operates principally as an art gallery, and also stages drawing classes, film nights & occasional performance. The art gallery is open daily 12-6pm and is free to the public (50 hours/week). The performances are intermittent & often linked to the themed art exhibitions.
TAP has a long history of participating in many local community programs. Situated in Sydney’s inner city fringe of Surry Hills, close to OXFORD ST , this ‘village’ includes much of the gay and lesbian community and is an area rich with art institutions, art students, practicing artists and creative services.
Ethnic groups who have utilized TAP include:
- Rumanian Art Festival opened by the Consulate General
- Estonian Art & Craft Festival opened by the Consulate General
- Norwegian Government featuring students studying in Australia
- (The Prime Minister of Norway was our special guest)
- Korean Australian Art Society (AAKA)
- Serbian artist community in Sydney with the Consulate General
- Egyptian artists attended by the Egyptian Consulate General
Charities who utilize Tap regularly are: Amnesty International, Pink Ribbon, White Ribbon, Green Peace, Reclink (Homeless), Animal Welfare Groups WWF, IAR, TOP and more.
Others annual community events TAP facilitates include
- Pyrmont Art Festival (TAP Gallery coordinates this event)
- HEAD ON Photo Festival Art Prize
- Sydney Fringe Festival events
- Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras exhibitions.
- Mamapalooza (Mums in the arts) opened by Tanya Plibersek
- Aboriginal art during Reconciliation Week
- International Women’s Day Art Prize
- Reclink Homeless people’s Show.
- Rejects from the ARCHIBALD, WYNNE & SULMAN.
- FREEDOM Human Rights Art Award
TAP Gallery became an Incorporated Association (Registered non-profit organization) in 1994. It is operated by a steering committee elected each year at our AGM. The committee: President – Paul Wallace, Vice P – Steve McLaren, Secretary – Lia Wittig and Treasurer – Lesley Dimmick. Many ordinary members actively contribute to gallery management also. All staff are volunteers and no one, including the manager, collect a wage or profits from activities. On incorporating the recommended Model Rules were adopted as our constitution and all financials are up to date and submitted to the Department Fair Trading. TAP is also registered with The Australian Charities & Not-For-Profit commission and all is in order.
TAP also facilitates a work for the dole program with 3 participants at present. These unemployed gain valuable experience in gallery management and develop skills on computer & customer liaison. Tap also takes intern students from Korea who gain valuable skills particularly speaking the English language. We also regularly take year 10 and University students for Work Experience.
The philosophy of TAP is to provide a friendly & welcoming Community Art Centre, giving a platform for all the arts. This gives members of the art community opportunities they would not have to develop as artists, and also showcase and perform their art to the wider community. It is a steppingstone for emerging artist. Many artists who have had their 1st solo at TAP have moved on to greater success and being now hung in the AGNSW. Many artists who began at Tap Gallery have won awards and are now successful in their careers.
TAP Gallery was approved in 1993 by the then South Sydney Council as a “COMMUNITY ARTS CENTRE”. Now the TAP Gallery has moved and continues hosting art exhibitions and all kinds of events in its new lovely space.
In conclusion TAP Gallery has contributed much to the arts community in Sydney for the last 27 years. It has gained a respected reputation and developed a strong community not only within the visual arts, but also the performing arts. We are seeking support from the City of Sydney to do what we do best: provide a platform for the fresh artists coming through, both in the visual & performing arts.