Looking for a space to exhibit your work? Think Gippsland.

Only a short drive from Melbourne, ArtSpace is situated in Wonthaggi, in the Bass Coast Shire. Search no longer, this is the place to be seen. 

Photo: Ellen Hubble

Ursula Theinert (UT), an environmental expressionist artist, is the President of ArtSpace. Liane Arno (LA) a passionate writer, is responsible of organising workshops for artists and the Archies Bald Portrait Prize. Together, they tell us about Wonthaggi state of the Arts (!) Space, an incorporated, profit for purpose community arts and craft gallery.

SD – ArtSpace is equiped with moving walls, flat screens, it has a gallery hanging system, there is also a front desk, a large conference room, a kitchen, it has disabled access. How did it all start to become today's impressive art site?

LA – It started when a group of local artists wanted a venue where they would be able to exhibit and sell their work around 10 years ago.

UT – We firstly set up a venue within the shopping precinct of Wonthaggi and around two years ago we were approached by our Council to see if we would relocate to the Information Centre. We were delighted to be asked as the exhibition space is wonderful.

photo: Sofie Dieu

SD – There is the art space in Wonthaggi and you also have access to Archies Creek Hall. What are the differences between these two spaces and how do you use them both?

LA – We are hoping to enter into an ongoing relationship with the Archies Creek Hall as they are a community not for profit as we are.

UT – We are hopeful that we can hold workshops into the future at the Hall for exhibiting artists which provides them with another avenue to share their creativity.

Archies Creek Hall - Photos: Ellen Hubble

SD – You have been so generous in spirit to me, I would like to encourage other artists to get in touch with you. Can you explain the benefits for an artist to work with you?

LA – That is so kind of you to say. I think our point of difference is that we are very flexible and try to accommodate artist needs.

UT – If an artist exhibits with us we like to try and get them to be a part of our community and provide access to workshops and to demonstrations such as you enjoyed.

May floral ink workshop with Sofie Dieu - Photo: Ellen Hubble

SD – Artists out there might be interested to apply with ArtSpace. Do you have call out dates? How does it work?

UT - We provide a rentable gallery space for display and sale of high quality arts and crafts items. Commission is payable on sales, which is discounted for those artists who undertake a prescribed number of hours voluntary work in the gallery per block.

LA – Of course we want to ensure work is of a particular standard however we are still quite flexible. The step by step application process is available on line.

UT – We have a curatorial team that reviews submitted works and it is rare that we would turn work away – potentially because those that ask to exhibit have been to ArtSpace and have seen the quality of the work on show.

SD – I saw in the local newspaper a blurb about my work. Liane, you have also written a beautiful article about my art. How do you generally promote artists' work?

LA – I personally interview the artists and then share it with an on line publication – Bass Coast Post – which does its best to publish to co-incide with artist exhibitions.

UT – In addition we have a good relationship with the newspapers and will advertise locally for the exhibitions opening and times. Often that also includes a follow up article after the exhibition opening.

Read Liane Arno's article about my work published by Bass Coast Post

SD – You seem always so busy with new projects, what do you have planned for the rest of the year and 2020?

LA – We have had an extraordinarily successful Archies Bald Portrait Prize that was a huge success with very little notice.

UT – We hope to replicate it in 2020 - but other than that we would like to continue what we do best – promoting the arts in our region.

Photo: Ellen Hubble

Born in France, Sofie Dieu’s first encounter with art was through church. With a penchant for ritual and spirituality, the artist is best known for her fragile, sombre, and sometimes violent ink paintings and textile works.


Poetic and humanist, her practice draws on her journeys to China and Australia. She explores how identity and memory fluctuate according to their immediate environment. Landscapes, people, secrecy, healing, and the dichotomy between light and darkness are some of her recurring themes.


Multi-art prizes and award finalist, her work was included in the Sydney North Art Prize, Waterhouse Natural Science prize and the Contemporary Art Award amongst others. In 2016, she worked on the Camperdown Cemetery installation for Sydney Biennale. In 2017, her work will be shown during Vivid and Mental Health Month in Sydney.