We have been supporting artists since 1986
Today Artsource is a well established organisation, with around 800 members, 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.
The twenty-seventh challenge for the America’s Cup took place in Fremantle in 1987. It was 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
Fremantle 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).
The Artists' Foundation of Western Australia
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).
Artsource: The Artist's Agency of WA
Artsource: The Artist’s Agency of WA began as a project of AFWA in 1996, initially as an Artist’s Employment Agency. Artsource and a team of consultants were successful in tendering for the Art in Public Places Program, which included the management of the Public Art Directory and Percent for Art Projects. This was the start of a period of growth and expansion for Artsource, in which it prospered and developed a portfolio of artist’s studios and services. In 2004, AFWA re-branded and commenced trading as Artsource, while retaining its legal name of the Artists’ Foundation of Western Australia.
In recent years, and partly due to COVID-19, Artsource has closed the doors on a number of it's studios, however, remains strongly present in it's flagship premises at Old Customs House in Fremantle, WA, where it provides exhibition space for members and the public, and studios for 25 artists.
Artsource has sustained membership support from 800 members who are visual artists from Western Australia professionally dedicated to their practice and who may also identify as artists, industry professionals, teachers, consultants, researchers, curators, trades-persons, developers, architects and more.
As we move into the new decade in 2021, Artsource looks forward to becoming an inclusive and community connected organisation, that supports artists to build sustainable careers, and strengthens arts and culture in Western Australia.
This website provides full information about what we do today and how you can get involved and we look forward to hearing from you.