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Nick Tobias on the MCA Young Ambassadors Program

In 2012 The Museum of Contemporary Art continues its wonderful Young Ambassador’s Program. Visual arts advocate and Architect Nick Tobias caught up with Belinda Aucott to explain a bit more about the program’s key aims and benefits.

Architect Nick Tobias first became a member of the MCA Young Ambassadors program in 2010. Here he explains why he relishes the program and wants to share it with others.

Q: What does the MCA Young Ambassador’s Program actively promote? 

Access to, and engagement with contemporary art, that includes artists, galleries and the art community-at-large. The program introduces the MCA, contemporary art and philanthropy to a brand new generation.

Q: What was your favourite private event that you attended during the 2011 program? 

A night with Tracey Emin, at the home of art consultant, Amanda Love. The whole house was filled with only Tracey’s work. Young Ambassadors got to hear the artist speak about her work, and ask about 40 minutes worth of questions – a very rare treat!

Q: Can being involved educate you about contemporary art and its role in society? Or do you need to know plenty about art already?

There are many members who have joined the program without any – or little – prior knowledge of contemporary art, and that’s great. The point of the program is to educate, awaken one’s mind and sensitivities, and to create engagement and dialogue on the issues in today’s society that the work addresses – this is the role of contemporary art. There’s nothing better for me than witnessing the “ah ha” moment when someone in the early phase of understanding contemporary art suddenly gets it – the program gets you to that “ah ha” moment as quickly as possible and from there it’s a whole world of delights.

Q: I understand some events take place in private homes and look at private collections can you give me an example of such an event? 

Apart from the memorable Emin/Love event mentioned above, I’d have to say the Cameron Residence – originally designed by Glen Murcutt (I believe). Their collection is extensive, however it is diverse and very personal. It’s not showy at all.

Q: How do you find and promote MCA Young Ambassadors to ensure the right people support it? 

The key is the quality of the program and the events. The aim is that over the course of a year, there is something for everyone, and members come away from events feeling nourished, inspired, and desperate for more!

Q: How many members do you have in Sydney? 

The last time I saw the list there were about 150 members.

Q: Do members get the chance to meet artists in person? 

Absolutely and often. Only last night we had a night at Helen Eager’s studio. Helen does wall paintings and has been commissioned by the MCA to create a major work in the entry foyer of the new building for the opening at the end of March.

Please visit the MCA website www.mca.com to see details on how to become a Young Ambassador.


Tobias Partners


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