Seven reasons 15-25 year-olds will love Art IRL at the NGA

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Are you a young art lover keen to meet fellow creators and take over a national cultural institution after dark? make that dreams come true at the National Gallery of Australia this Saturday

A neon-lit mashup between a festival, a Jeffrey Smart painting come to life and a party with your best mates, Art IRL will see 15-25 year-olds take over the National Gallery in person or online from 6-9 pm on 30 April. Did we mention it’s free?

There’s something for everyone across the night, with more than 12 activities, activations, performances, talks and exhibitions – from artist-led workshops to musical performances to artist Joel Spring in conversation. While it will be heaven for art and culture-lovers, the festival atmosphere will win over people too.

“We’re thrilled to have our first on-site event for 2022, programmed specifically for young people,” says Mary Kendell, National Gallery Tim Fairfax Programs Convenor, Young People.

A drug and alcohol-free event, Mary explains that Art IRL has been designed by young people for young people—which is probably why the photos always look so cool. An inclusive event, there will also be spaces for people with sensory needs.

“This event is co-developed by the National Gallery Youth Council—a group of passionate young people from across Australia who devise events and experiences for their peers.”

“It will be a hybrid (online and on site) after-hours, free event exclusive for young people to their own social space and have exclusive access to the Gallery and exhibitions in a festival-style event.”

Here’s why there’s something for every 15–25-year-old at Art IRL

It’s easy to find what you’re into

All activations have been labeled with at least one of five categories, making it easy to see what parts of the program might be for you.

Meet Someone New will feature discussions, open mic sessions, collaborative activities, and round tables while Creative Makers will host art-making activities. Cool Down encompasses the quiet spaces mindfulness sessions, relaxation and mental health themes while young-talent will feature music and performances along with poetry readings and Art & Ideas will introduce the NGA’s own talent in the form of art talks, tours and Q&As with curators and conservators as well as artists.

Find the full event program here.

Bookings required for some activities | Click here

Engage with the important stuff

Today’s youth are more engaged in discussions around politics, society and culture than ever before—and one of the best ways to explore these complex themes is through art and artistic expression.

Art IRL has plenty of opportunities for young people to make their voices heard, including interactive activity sharing-ceremonyhands-on craft activities in Sharing Culture and helping the Youth Council design a logo that represents invisible disabilities, including mental health, at the Create a design for invisible disabilities activity session from 6.30 pm.

Bookings required for some activities | Click here

Get it for the ‘gram

Create your own Instagrammable moment (or TikTok!) with the NGA’s interactive space in the underground car park which will recreate some of artist Jeffrey Smart‘s iconic landscapes.

Want to go even bigger? From 7–8.30, be part of a collaborative mural where you’ll draw your own ceremonies and rituals that will then become digital murals projected on the walls of the National Gallery undercroft.

Live music and performance

At 6.40 pm, watch a performance by artist Joel Bray, and from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm there will be live music in the Bridge outside the Level 1 Foyer.

Quiet spaces for those who want to chill

Art IRL doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Grab a beanbag and chill out in one of the quiet spaces to take things down a notch, where headphones will be waiting for you to listen to First Nations music and digital content produced for Ceremony on provided headsets. Feeling inspired? Use materials to weave, sculpt and draw.

Booking required | Click here

Honor First Nations art and artists

With the NGA proudly hosting ceremonythe 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial, there will be a focus on Indigenous artists with a ceremony listening party where you can experience digital content created for ceremony, the A Picture is Worth 1000 Words workshop where you’ll be inspired works from ceremony and create an original piece of writing as part of this writer-led workshop and performances by First Nations young artists including NGA Youth Councilor Tamsin Davidson performing with the Djinama Yilanga Choir,

At 7 pm in the James Fairfax Theatre, Youth Councilors Odette Miller and Matthew Hattrick will interview Ceremony artists, including Wiradjuri artist Joel Bray.

Bookings required for some activities | Click here

Not in Canberra? There’s plenty for you to experience

No matter where you are, you can experience the magic of Art IRL—online! Check out the Ceremony Stories Listening Party online, read a digital copy of Hear us Nowthe new Youth Council zine and watch Youth Councilors Odette & Matt chat with artists Joel Spring live on Facebook from 7 pm.

Bookings required for some activities | Click here


What: Art IRL 2022
When: Saturday 30 April from 6–9 pm
Where: National Gallery of Australia
Cost: Free, Registration Essential – Bookings required for some activities
Website, bookings + more information:

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