Supporting artists since 1986

Today Artsource is a successful and thriving organisation with around 900 members and supporting visual artists across Western Australia.  However, in the beginning, things were rather different and, perhaps surprisingly, it was one of the world’s top international sporting events that led to our foundation.

In defense of the cup

The twenty-seventh challenge for the America’s Cup took place in Fremantle in 1987, the first time in its 132-year history that it had been defended by anyone other than the New York Yacht Club.

Alan Bond’s 'Australia II' had swept to victory in 1983 and there was enormous interest and excitement about the race coming to Western Australia.

The Office of America’s Cup Defence was set up in 1985 to coordinate the staging of the event and it invested heavily in infrastructure and other initiatives.  In order to provide a cultural component to the event and to ensure artists retained a foothold in the town, in 1986 they created the Fremantle Arts Foundation (FAF), supported financially by both State and Federal Governments.

The Fremantle Arts Foundation

Old-Customs-House-1911-(1).jpgFremantle Arts Foundation was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee on 9th June 1986.

The Old Customs House, on the corner of Cliff Street and Phillimore Street in Fremantle, was made available for studios. The first artists moved in to occupy just eight studios (we now have 24 in this building alone). Later, the Old Customs House was purchased by the State and managed by Fremantle Arts Foundation (FAF).

By 1992, the FAF was well positioned to provide further support for visual artists through state-wide delivery of services. These services focused on professional development, support, advocacy, providing discounts, information and advice. To reflect this broader purpose, FAF changed its name to the Artists Foundation of Western Australia Ltd (AFWA).


Although our legal name remains the Artists Foundation of Western Australia Ltd, in 2004 we rebranded and now trade as Artsource.

With a strong membership-base and a growing portfolio of studios and services, Artsource occupies a unique position in Australia.  We provide artists with valuable services, opportunities and support that helps them to thrive and the visual arts to flourish.

This website provides full information about what we do today and how you can get involved and we look forward to hearing from you.