Porter Street Commission

The Porter Street Commission is ACE’s annual contemporary art award worth $20,000 that supports new commissions by South Australian artists.

Applications for 2023 Porter Street Commission are closed. News of the successful applicant will be announced at the end of June 2022.

Line illustration of CACSA gallery on Porter Street, Parkside. A person walks towards the entrance. An artist works in the yard.
Line illustration of CACSA gallery on Porter Street, Parkside. A person walks towards the entrance. An artist works in the yard.

About the 2023 Porter Street Commission

Now in its third year, the Porter Street Commission is an annual award supporting a major new artwork commission by a South Australian artist at any stage of their career.   

A total amount of $20,000 will be awarded to a selected artist for the purpose of producing an ambitious new work, which will be presented as part of ACE’s 2023 exhibition program as a solo exhibition across June to August. An artist fee of $3,000 (plus Superannuation) will be provided by ACE in addition to the $20,000.     

Applications will be considered by a selection panel composed of ACE's Artistic Director Patrice Sharkey; Daria de Beauvais (Senior Curator at  Palais de Tokyo, Paris); and Micheal Do (Curator, contemporary art at the Sydney Opera House, Australia; curator of Projects at Auckland Art Fair, New Zealand; and Curator of 'Primavera: Young Australian Artists 2022' at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia).     

ACE acknowledges and celebrates the rich history of this award, despite it being a new initiative. The award would not be possible if not for the two art organisations that came before ACE: Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF) and Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA). You can learn about the history of the Porter Street Commission here. 

Located in Adelaide’s iconic Lion Arts Centre precinct, Adelaide Contemporary Experimental (ACE) is South Australia’s leading independent contemporary visual arts organisation, proudly supporting artists to develop and present work on Kaurna Yarta (Kaurna Country). Through exhibitions, studios, public programs, professional development opportunities and publications, ACE expands the edges of contemporary visual art practice, embraces diversity and provides a space for artists to take risks. 

Since its inception, ACE’s program has explored many timely issues, driven by the question: what is urgent to discuss today and who should be telling these stories? We recognise that contemporary art takes many forms, and have built a reputation for presenting new and important processes and methodologies for artistic practice.

Clear constitutional guidelines — determining that 50% of revenue be reinvested and the remainder spent to support artists and art practice — ensure that the fund will benefit South Australian artists for decades to come.  

Archival scan of CACSA gallery on Porter Street, Parkside.
Archival scan of CACSA gallery on Porter Street, Parkside.
CACSA, Porter Street, Parkside, South Australia (archival scan).

How did the Porter Street Commission come to be?

The Porter Street Commission exists thanks to the Porter Street Fund. In understanding why and how the Porter Street Commission exists, one must first understand why and how ACE exists too.

Established in 2017, ACE was founded on the legacy of its predecessors, Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF) and Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA), to serve and lead the South Australian contemporary visual arts sector into the next era. As the flagship contemporary visual arts organisation in South Australia, ACE honours the ambitions and intent of these two pioneering organisations through a commitment to experimental practice and support of contemporary artists.

Let’s jump even further back in time, shall we? From 1964 until 2016, CACSA was the longest running contemporary art space in Australia. It was created by the young artists of the Contemporary Art Society (CAS) — itself dating back to 1942. These artists recognised the need for a space of their own to freely experiment and present work to the public. So, in 1964, they purchased a four-bedroom villa at 14 Porter Street, Parkside, to convert into an art gallery, and there it operated until the property was sold in 2018. 

The proceeds were invested to establish the Porter Street Fund, which honours the vision of the CAS artists and the legacy of CACSA, and serves to directly benefit the community for whom ACE exists.

Gallery visitor engages with works for the 'Message from the Meadow' exhibition by 2021 Porter Street Commission recipient, Bridget Currie.
Gallery visitor engages with works for the 'Message from the Meadow' exhibition by 2021 Porter Street Commission recipient, Bridget Currie.
Bridget Currie, 'Message from the Meadow' (2021), ACE. Photography Thomas McCammon.

The recipient of the 2023 Porter Street Commission will receive

  • $20,000 to develop an ambitious new work

  • $3,000 artist fee (plus Superannuation)

  • 8-week solo exhibition as part of ACE’s 2023 exhibition program

  • Support from ACE’s Artistic Director, Exhibitions and Studio Coordinator, Public Programs Coordinator and Marketing Manager to develop and present the Commission

  • Access to ACE equipment and resources

  • Option to deliver relevant public program/s (e.g. artist talk)

Eligibility

  • Artists who work across all contemporary art forms

  • Artists at any stage of practice (i.e. from early career to established)

  • South Australian residents who have been living in the state for the last 12 months as a minimum

  • People who are 18+

  • Those not currently participating in ACE’s Studio Program

ACE strongly encourages artists who are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD), living with a disability, or part of the LGBTQI+ community to apply for this opportunity.

About the selection process 

Applications will be assessed against the following criteria: 

  • The opportunity will provide an ambitious next step for the artist's career and exhibition trajectory

  • The artist’s capacity to develop and deliver the proposed new work for presentation in the ACE gallery

  • The proposed new work demonstrates a conceptual or material progression in the artist’s work while making sense in terms of the direction of the artist’s practice

  • The proposed new work is relevant to current artistic, cultural and/or political discourse

  • The proposed new work pushes a medium, technique, field of enquiry, or area of practice

  • Support material is conceptually and materially well-developed

Selection panel

2022,

2021,

2020

Daria de Beauvais
Micheal Do
Patrice Sharkey
Dr Léuli Eshrāghi
Louise O'Kelly
Patrice Sharkey
Alexie Glass
Pablo León de la Barra
Patrice Sharkey
What is ACE’s approach to programming? 
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Since its inception, ACE’s program has explored many timely issues, driven by the question: what is urgent to discuss today and who should be telling these stories? We recognise that contemporary art takes many forms, and have built a reputation for presenting new and important processes and methodologies for artistic practice.

What is meant by ‘new’ work?
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‘New work’ is artwork that hasn’t previously been exhibited that the $20,000 production fee will support to be realised/completed.

How do I know if I am a good fit for ACE’s program?
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We look for artists who will benefit from the opportunity at this moment in their career, and artists whose practices align with our vision and mission. To identify how your work might fit into our program, we encourage you have a look at the previous recipients of the Porter Street Commission and at ACE’s previous exhibitions.

Is this opportunity targeted at artists in a certain age bracket?
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ACE identifies that this opportunity is beneficial no matter what your age, or how long you have been a practising artist. However, to be eligible, you must be 18 years old or over. 

I am an emerging artist, is this still a good opportunity for me?
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The Porter Street Commission is open to artists at any stage of their career, however those that can demonstrate the ability to self manage the production of new work and collaborate with a small gallery team will make strong candidates.

I have not completed formal visual arts studies, am I still eligible to apply?
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Artists who work across all contemporary art forms are eligible to apply. While you do not need to possess formal qualifications, those that can demonstrate a developed visual arts practice will make strong candidates.  

I am an artist living with a disability. How will I be supported if I am successful?
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If you face barriers in completing application forms, we welcome you to reach out to find a suitable way to apply, and to discuss what capacities ACE has to support you should you be selected. Please be aware that the application form provides you with the option to submit your application by answering questions in video or audio format. You can also view more information about ACE’s accessibility.

What if I am based in regional South Australia?
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Regional SA artists are encouraged to apply. However any significant freight and travel costs would need to be negotiated with ACE.

What if I’m South Australian born but have been living elsewhere for the past few months? Am I still eligible?
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Applications are open to South Australian residents who have been living in the state for the last 12 months. However, this does not preclude artists who live/practice between SA and another state if you can demonstrate an ongoing contribution to the arts in SA.

Can it only be a solo show or can it be collaborative?
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We are definitely open to applications from collaborative practices as well as solo practitioners.

Do you have any tips for making a strong application?
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Guildhouse and NAVA provide relevant information and tips for preparing and writing proposals that we encourage you to access.

Is there a budget template I can access?
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Is there an ACE floor plan I can access?
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Why does the application ask for 2 referees?
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We ask you to provide two professional referees who you have previously worked with on an exhibition or a new commission. A referee’s role is to provide insight into your experience developing new work, presenting work in a gallery and working with a gallery team. We encourage you to ask your referees if they are comfortable with being listed in your application. Try to remember to ask them well ahead of submitting your application – so they have enough notice!

Can I submit more than one proposal?
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Only one submission per individual artist will be accepted. An artist can however submit an additional application as part of an artist collective.

What does the $20,000 cover, and what in-kind support is provided by ACE?
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The $20,000 is to be used by the recipient to realise the new work for the exhibition. In-kind costs covered by ACE include curatorial support, installation/de-installation, marketing and exhibition documentation (photography).

Could the exhibition travel after it shows at ACE?
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The new work/exhibition can definitely be re-presented or tour after premiering at ACE in 2023. We encourage it!

Will there be any curatorial support through the creation of the work?
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The selected artist will work closely with the ACE team in both producing the new work proposal and realising it as an exhibition.

What will the selection panel be looking for in the applications?
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The selection panel will be looking for a new work proposal to get excited about that addresses the selection criteria.

Is there any opportunity for public programming and/or performance through the exhibit?
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Absolutely – ACE delivers public programs for each exhibition and works with exhibiting artists to develop these. If your proposed new work is performative in nature, we can work with you on how to stage this or as part of the exhibition slot.

Porter Street Commission Recipients

2021,

2022

Bridget Currie

Born in 1979 on Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia, Bridget Currie has exhibited widely in Australia since graduating from Bachelor Visual Arts (Honours) in 2001. She has previously exhibited at 24 Hr Art, Darwin; Artbank, Sydney; Artspace, Sydney; Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide; Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide; and Perth Institute of Contemporary Art. Most recently, she has presented significant new work at The Art Gallery of South Australia and the Adelaide Central School of Art Gallery. Currie has also undertaken a wide range of learning and residency opportunities across Asia and Europe. This includes residences at CCA Kitakyushu in Japan (2007-08) and Rupert in Vilnius, Lithuania (2016); as well as postgraduate study at the Kunglia Konsthogskolan in Stockholm, supported by an Anne & Gordon Samstag Visual Arts Scholarship (2011).
Bio published April 2022

Bridget Currie: Message from the meadow

16 July 2021 - 04 September 2021

This exhibition is the outcome of ACE Open’s inaugural Porter Street Commission.

View Exhibition

Allison Chhorn

Allison Chhorn is a Cambodian-Australian film-maker and multidisciplinary artist.  She received a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) from the University of South Australia in 2014. Since graduating, she has made numerous short films which have been screened as part of Adelaide Film Festival, Visions du Réel Film Festival, as well as featured online as part of Prototype 2021. Her most notable film The Plastic House has screened at Melbourne International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, and the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. 
Bio published April 2022

Allison Chhorn: Skin Shade Night Day

04 June 2022 - 13 August 2022

2022 Porter Street Commission Exhibition

View Exhibition

ACE tampinthi, ngadlu Kaurna yartangka panpapanpalyarninthi (inparrinthi). Kaurna miyurna yaitya mathanya Wama Tarntanyaku. Parnaku yailtya, parnaku tapa purruna, parnaku yarta ngadlu tampnthi. Yalaka Kaurna miyurna itu yailtya, tapa purruna, yarta kuma puru martinthi, puru warri-apinthi, puru tangka martulayinthi.

ACE respectfully acknowledges the traditional Country of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains and pays respect to Elders past and present. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We acknowledge that they are of continuing importance to the Kaurna people living today.