Propelled by the idea of a gallery that could strengthen the community’s access to art, students Mehdi Jaghuri, Andrew Duong and Genevieve Townsend teamed up to start Connection Arts Space, located in Dandenong, in November 2015.
Genevieve and Mehdi were studying Fine Art while Andrew had recently graduated from Monash in the same field. It was Mehdi who had the initial idea to start the gallery and gained the support of the City of Greater Dandenong council.
“We all had a passion for sharing the knowledge we’d learnt from studying Fine Art, and we wanted to create an art space that was inclusive and that helped support other artists in communicating their work. As the space grew, our former lecturers and staff from Monash were very supportive of the work we were doing and encouraged us to continue,” Mehdi says.
“Since we’ve been open we’ve facilitated the debut exhibitions for many artists from the local are,” Genevieve says.
We’ve made a positive impact on community members through art workshop programs such as Express Your Rights, which allows young people from the community to learn about human rights and explore these themes through an art workshop that culminated in two exhibitions in 2017 and 2018.
“The team is proud that Connection Arts Space has played a role in the pathways for future artists, educators, advisors and arts managers,” Andrew adds. “We’ve had volunteers move onto professional roles in event management, marketing, human resource, finance and social work.”