See art in the making at Australia’s finest school

See art in the making at Australia’s finest school

Margaret Olley, Ken Done and Max Dupain all went there – and now you can, too, when one of Australia’s most prestigious art schools opens its doors to give Sydneysiders a unique glimpse into the creative process.

The National Art School, housed in the historic Darlinghurst Gaol, is hosting a free open day on 31 August, from 10am-4pm, allowing the local community to explore the grounds and see art in the making.

“Opening up the National Art School for a day gives Sydneysiders a chance to explore this esteemed institution and may even inspire Sydney’s next generation of artists,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“The City’s grants and sponsorships program supports a vast range of community projects, including education programs, cooking classes, festivals and heritage conservation works.”

The day is being supported by a City of Sydney community grant, with the latest round for community groups seeking funding open until 19 August.

The activity-packed day includes guided history tours, open studios, drawing exhibitions, life drawing workshops, artist talks, a bronze-pouring demonstration and a calico bag printing workshop for children.

National Art School Head of Development, Enid Charlton, said she hoped the open day would encourage the community to develop a greater appreciation of the techniques involved in making art.

“Art makes such an important contribution to the lives of Sydneysiders and this is a great chance for them to see the practices behind the finished work,” Ms Charlton said.

“The open day also lets the community see inside the school that helped establish the careers of some of Australia’s best known artists, including Ken Done, Martin Sharp, Elisabeth Cummings, Cressida Campbell, Wendy Sharpe, John Olsen and Tim Storrier – the list goes on.

“The National Art School is a unique education institution as it’s housed in the original buildings of the historic sandstone gaol, which held its first prisoners in 1841.

“This open day, supported by the City’s grant, will also allow prospective students to learn about the courses on offer and life on campus, and our student services team will be on hand to answer any questions.

“The community can also enjoy lunch or a snack at our campus café, the Hangout, and there will be face painting and a history trail for children.”

The National Art School received a $3,500 local community grant towards the open day. The local community grants program offers amounts up to $5,000.

The City offers 20 grants and sponsorship programs to support a wide range of community projects, including open days, festivals, sports workshops, educational days and exhibitions.

The National Art School offers Bachelor of Fine Art, Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours), Master of Fine Art (Research) and short courses in visual art. NAS students undertake intensive tuition in the specialist disciplines of ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture, supported by the study of art history and theory.


For more information:

Phone 02 9265 9333


For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Jodie Minus, phone 0467 803 815 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Jonathon Larkin on 0477 310 149 or email