Visual Arts Panel

The Visual Arts Panel (VAP) provides advice on Council’s Art and Heritage Collection and public art.

Yarra City Council inherited a range of indoor and outdoor artworks and cultural artifacts when the Cities of Collingwood, Richmond and Fitzroy amalgamated in 1994. Council recognises the inherent importance of local cultural heritage and accepts responsibility as custodian for all collection items documenting the City’s unique history and people. Since this time the Collection has continued to grow through acquisitions and donations, particularly the Contemporary Fine Art collection. Council will acquire, collect, preserve, research, document, exhibit, interpret and make accessible to the public the original artworks, objects and information which forms the Yarra City Council Art & Heritage Collection.

The City of Yarra Collection Management Policy guides all decisions related to Council’s management of the Collection and role as cultural custodian of this Collection.

Public art is a growing and changing form of contemporary art that presents a range of opportunities and challenges for Council. Public art may be commissioned and produced by various means including by Council, community groups, artists and private developers. Council’s first Public Art Policy 2015-20 and Guidelines for Public Art in Private Development in Yarra were adopted on Tuesday 3 March 2015.

Council is advised on cultural matters by the Yarra Arts Advisory Committee (YAARTS). The Visual Arts Panel (VAP) is a sub-committee of YAARTS. The Panel provides a formal mechanism for Council to seek specialist advice as required on matters related to the management of the Collection and public art.
To find out more about the panel view the Terms of Reference.

Visual Arts Panel Membership

Yarra Councillors Danae Bosler and Bridgid O'Brien are members of the committee.

Members for the 2018-2020 term are:

Will Foster 

Will Foster (UK) is an artist, curator and producer. He has carried out artistic and curatorial projects in Glasgow, Berlin, Istanbul, Norway and Melbourne. Will is the founder and co-director of Wasteland Twinning Network and Cabin Exchange. As Visual Arts Program Manager at The Substation, Will curated various exhibitions of local and international artists including Trilogies (2015), Vantage Point (2013) and The Substation Contemporary Art Prize (2013).  

He is co-director (with artist Gabrielle de Vietri) of A Centre for Everything, a pedagogical program of events and has undertaken projects with Climarte, City of Melbourne and Monash University Museum of Art. Will is currently an Associate Producer at Next Wave.

Betty Milonas 

Betty Milonas holds a Master of Art Curatorship (Minor Thesis) from the University of Melbourne. During her studies she served as a Student Ambassador at the Ian Potter Museum of Art.  She has undertaken curatorial internships at the Museum of Modern Art in the Photography Curatorial Department and New York Foundation for the Arts.  She has previously worked with the National Library of Australia on re-housing a private photography collection, co-curated an exhibition at Kings ARI and written exhibition reviews for SciArt in America Magazine.  Betty is currently part of the Short Films Curatorial team for the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival.

Megan Quigley

Megan Quigley is the co-founder and managing director at Dangerfork Print Studio Melbourne. Working in the arts and print reproduction industry for over 8 years, Megan has been fortunate enough to work closely with a number of artists ranging from designers, to illustrators, to painters and photographers. Megan has also worked with over 140 artists collaborating on limited edition prints to be published through the Dangerfork online gallery.

Within her role as managing director, she is in charge of the art direction, client/print management, accounts/budgeting and marketing. A major role that has given Megan large opportunities to connect with the community, has been project managing and curating exhibitions ranging from solo exhibitions, to large scale group shows with a focus on fundraising for numerous charities.

Simon Carver

Simon Carver is an Arts Educator, Interior designer and the co-owner of two Collingwood based cafes - South of Johnston and Oxford Larder. Simon has a Bachelor of Fine Art from RMIT and a Post graduate Diploma in Education and is undertaking his Masters in Education leadership in Arts based secondary education at the University of Melbourne. Simon is a long term resident of Yarra and has been a Visual Arts panel member with Yarra in the past.

Simon has also been the Director of Carver Design for some years in Collingwood, and with his partner Stuart, supports the Yarra's Room to Create Program.

Narelle Desmond

Narelle Desmond is a multidisciplinary visual artist, a member of DAMP art collective, a graphic designer and an arts educator who currently lives and works in Fitzroy, Melbourne.

Narelle’s solo practice explores the physical properties of a broad range of materials through an examination of aesthetic and conceptual considerations of object making. Narelle recently held a solo show, Smart Objects Awkward Relations, at Caves Gallery in Melbourne and participated in Unfinished Business: perspectives on feminism and art at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.

As a founding member of artist group DAMP, Narelle’s practice also centres strongly around collaboration. Reflecting directly on the nature of collaboration, DAMP engages ideas surrounding audience engagement and cultural exchange. 

Shini Pararajasingham

Shini Pararajasingham is the Founder and Director of Off the Kerb since 2007. Her role is in the strategic direction of the gallery and creating an exhibition calendar that contributes to Melbourne’s dynamic arts sector. One of Shini’s objectives at Off the Kerb is to support charities through the arts such as beyondblue, Melbourne City Mission, The Lost Dog’s Home, Whitelion, Innerspace and Clowns Without Borders.

Shini Pararajasingham has sat on the panel of judges at the Victorian College of the Arts Proud Awards. She recently sat on the panel of judges for the Abbotsford Convent Collaborative Award 2014. Shini has also contributed as an invited expert to City of Ballarat’s arts and cultural policy consultation and development. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Monash University (2003) and a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)/Business Marketing, Monash University (1998).

As a practicing artist, she has had an international solo show in Vienna, Austria, a group exhibition in Prato, Italy and solo and group exhibitions locally and nationally. Currently, Shini dedicates her expertise to her role as Director of Off the Kerb mentoring artists to further their creative limits.

Carolyn Lewens 

Carolyn Lewens is an artist and curator working solo and collaboratively to produce complex ensembles of image, sound and text. She investigates the properties and metaphors of light, and the mysteries of shadows, often producing experimental works. Her cameraless photographs are a mix of the literal and the phenomenal, problematising the digital through the uncanny of the analogue.

Probing cultural and scientific explanations of nature and more recently, the universe; playing with creative ambiguities of the photogram process, mobile sculptures and installation, her works broadly canvass ideas at work in culture and science, with a focus on ecologies of light, water and life. Her images are cyanotypes – blueprints, “plans for future reference.” As such they deal with issues of art and science - climate change, pollution, over-fishing, questioning what it means to be alive, and speculating on what might exist down in the oceanic depths or out in deep space. More recent forays into cosmic realms with her current fellowship at Swinburne University’s Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, has brought questions of the scientific interpretation of light and darkness, movement and shadows to the fore.