Kylie Neagle introduces the Vanguards

This year is shaping up to be a big year for guiding at AGSA: 2020 marks the fifty-year anniversary of guiding at the Art Gallery of South Australia and is a fitting occasion to usher in a new wave of Gallery Guides to join our existing group of guides.

In addition, we welcome a new group, called Vanguard, nine new volunteers, all of whom are aged under thirty and who are keen to learn, share their enthusiasm and knowledge, and engage with our visitors. While all of the new Guides and the Vanguard team are united by their love of art, their diverse backgrounds will inform and enrich their guiding approach. Among the Vanguard group we have tertiary students studying mechanical engineering, art history, contemporary art, politics and international relations, and psychology, as well as a statistical analysist, social worker, administration officer and those who work in hospitality and retail, not to mention those who already volunteer at the Gallery for Neo and Start.

The Vanguard will lead the way, along with the Gallery Guides, in engaging visitors of all ages from around the world with works of art. With the Adelaide Biennial and the Contemporary Art Collection as the backdrop for their training, the Vanguard group has been equipped with the skills to help visitors navigate works of art, discover something new and question the unknown. Vanguard members will function as interlocutors between audiences and contemporary art.

Contemporary art, apart from being the focus of many of AGSA’s acclaimed exhibitions, is integrated into all areas of the building, inside and out. And, inside, positioned alongside historic works of art, contemporary art helps us to understand the past and encourages us to ask questions about the present and our uncertain future.

Kylie is Education Officer at AGSA, a position supported by the Government of South Australia through the Department for Education. This article first appeared in AGSA Magazine Issue 39, 2020.