The AGCA and YouBy Owen Craven
Founded in 1976, the Australian Commercial Gallery Association (ACGA) represents the most respected and active voice in the Australian visual art world. It is the peak body for the Australian commercial gallery sector, comprising 54 members operating in all states and territories, and is committed to the ethical treatment of Australian artists, operating under a comprehensive, self-regulated code of conduct.
More than 35 years on, in a vastly different looking - and bigger! - ‘art world’ to when the association first formed, what does the ACGA mean and do for you today? Using its experiences and structured voice, the collective membership is the primary point of contact for the visual arts sector to connect with governments, the general public and the wider arts industry. In a sense, the ACGA serves as an industry ‘watchdog’ to the galleries and the artists; offering assistance and advice.
While federal Government policy and legislation may be conceived with good intention, the effects of change can often be significant. The ACGA maintains an ongoing line of communication with governments to ensure the real world of artists and galleries is considered in forging ahead with change. In recent times, the ACGA has been deeply involved in significant Government reforms such as the Artists’ Resale Royalty Scheme, the Indigenous Art Code, the Cooper Review into Superannuation, the Forgeries Focus Group, and a National Cultural Policy. In each case, positive amendments to legislation were negotiated to ensure all parties benefited.
In 2011, the ACGA coordinated and secured 16 of its member galleries to exhibit at the Korean International Art Fair in Seoul. With the financial support of the Australian government, the ACGA was able to assist and promote its members and their artists as part of the Australia-Korea Year of Friendship bilateral celebrations on an international scale.
For the practicing artists, being represented by an ACGA member gallery ensures ethical and fair professional practice. Membership to the ACGA is not automatic and is assessed upon track record by the board. Galleries exist not only to exhibit and sell art work but to promote the long term careers of their represented artists - the ACGA monitors and helps its members in many areas including advice on contracts, insurance of artworks, consignment records and international exposure.
When purchasing or learning about art from an ACGA member, collectors and audiences are confident they are dealing with the most reputable galleries in the market. With countless years of collective experience, the association speaks amongst itself and proffers advice – working together for the growth and strength of artists and the industry.
Like many industries today, the visual arts is growing and changing at a cracking pace. The ACGA is excited by what challenges and changes lie ahead and remain committed to support their members and, thus, the broader visual arts community - ensuring the success and strength of the creative voice in Australia and abroad.