Melbourne has long been known as a creative hub for up and coming artists and for the last seven years has been famously regarded as ‘the world’s most liveable city.’ The city’s art scene and buzzing creative culture supports studying university students as they have a large range of exhibitions, shows and workshops they are able to attend. None of course, as popular as Melbourne’s finest gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria.

Funded by Study Melbourne, ‘Meet NGV | Uni Student Night’ was the first event at the gallery as part of the new ‘Meet NGV’ project that aims to connect students to the world of art. Head of Learning at the NGV, Michele Stockley said that the event: “specifically seeks to welcome international students to the NGV and to support students to find their place within the NGV community through social events and learning opportunities.”

With entry to the event accessible through reserving a free ticket online, university students were ecstatic to gain such affordable entry to one of Melbourne’s finest institutions and its latest exhibition: Escher X nendo | Between Two Worlds. On arrival, students were presented with free tickets to the gallery’s winter exhibition, ‘Terracotta Warriors’ and were provided with student discounts in the National Gallery’s store.

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Stockley also stated that: “…having access to art is important for all young people. The visual arts and design provide rich opportunities to explore ideas, make connections across places and times, and discover new ways of thinking about the world.”

Whilst the NGV’s exhibitions remain to be an affordable attribution to the creative landscape of Melbourne,  there are unfortunately some events in this city that are prohibited for wealthier students and those who are able to afford the high costs of Melbourne’s art scene.  

According to Live Performance Australia, as of 2017 the average price to see a live show in Australia was a staggering $90.56, a seven dollar increase from their 2016 report. As the prices for theatre, cinema, exhibitions and live performances increase, accessibility for lower income students to art is more crucial than ever.

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Third year student at Melbourne University, Elektra-Flaskas Troaditis was one of many to attend the sold out event and had many thoughts surrounding the benefits of affordable pricing to Melbourne’s arts events.

“Students/young people should be able to afford arts events because art should be available for everyone to see. It would allow young people to become more creative and innovative which is a great skill to have in the workforce and generally in the ‘real world’.”

Assistant Director of the NGV Donna McColm, explained her own biggest lesson in working in the real world in an interview with RMIT: “The one thing I’ve learned, I think through trial and error, is to put your hand up for everything. It might not make sense at the time but you never know where an opportunity is going to lead you.”

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The National Gallery of Victoria’s recent event showcases the importance of art being accessible to students and how that is crucial for creativity and networking opportunities – something often missed out on for those who can’t afford entry to industry opportunities which are often easier to access in wealthier circles.

MC Escher once said: “If you only knew how entrancing, how stirringly beautiful the images in my head are, the ones I am unable to express.” The Meet NGV evening demonstrates exactly how the NGV are taking the right steps to ensure that all artists/students, regardless of their income, are given the opportunity to express their own beautiful images out into the world.

For further information about events and exhibitions, you can visit the NGV website https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/whats-on/ 

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