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Wednesday 26 June 2024
Open 9:00am - 5:00pm

Transitions 2024

4th year of mentorships

In partnership with Townsville City Galleries, Umbrella is delivering the fourth iteration of the Transitions program in 2024. Transitions supports emerging artists through one-on-one mentorship and through group development sessions. Five artist mentees have self-defined their outcomes and are working through important steps to achieve their goals. They are being mentored one-on-one by established North Queensland artists. The mentees learn to build / develop a studio practice and portfolio, develop professional arts skills and exhibit in a small group exhibition.

Read about the broader Transitions project here and explore the participants and individual project details below. If you wish to express your interest in participating in a future iteration of the program, please contact us.  

Mentee - Mentor
Hannah Aiello - Barbara Cheshire
Sabrina Toby - Alison McDonald
Vicki Katthagen - Ann Vardanega
Sarah Treadwell - Jenny Mulcahy
Lisa Gianni - Jan Hynes

Life imitates art with mother and child: Mentees Hannah Aiello (and her child), Sarah Treadwell and Lisa Gianni viewing Sonia Ward's exhibition in their first introductory intensive session. Photograph: Daniel Qualischefski.

Introductory intensives and group critique sessions

The 2024 program commenced with introductory sessions at Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts. Umbrella's Gallery Manager and Curator Daniel Qualischefski led the mentees in discussions, along with staff from Townsville City Galleries - Rachel Cunningham (Senior Education and Programs Officer) and Jonathan Brown (Education and Programs Officer). The mentees bonded and shared their goals for the program. Daniel also led professional development sessions around writing artists CVs and art texts and applying for exhibitions. Umbrella's Business and Partnerships Manager Alan Marlowe ran a session on photography for artists, developing their skills to help photograph their artwork. The group were joined by guest artists Sonia Ward and Ann Vardanega who spoke about their arts practices and careers, with tips and insights for the emerging artists.

Beyond the one-on-one mentorship sessions, the mentees will also attend monthly group critique sessions to share their artwork progress. They will receive ideas, suggestions and critiques from their peers, some of the individual mentors, staff from Umbrella and Townsville City Galleries and guest mentors and presenters. 

The Transitions program is a partnership between Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts and Townsville City Galleries. 

Mentees Hannah Aiello, Sarah Treadwell, Lisa Gianni and Vicki Katthagen were joined by Rachel Cunningham, Jonathan Brown and guest artist Sonia Ward, a previous mentee whose exhibition was on display. Photograph: Daniel Qualischefski.

Alan Marlowe shared tips for photographing artworks in the mentee's second intensive session. Photograph: Daniel Qualischefski.

Guest mentor Ann Vardanega presenting to the mentees. Photograph: Daniel Qualischefski.

Lisa Gianni and Jan Hynes

Lisa Gianni’s arts practice is primarily based within wearable art and sculptural, installation-based realms. She often repurposes ready-made functional items into contemporary-based messages. Lisa hopes to develop her skills as a practising sculptor with a long term objective of being accepted into Strand Ephemera. She hopes to work with her mentor to develop skills, broaden her knowledge and versatility in materials, and work on the process of planning, developing and proposing a work for display in Ephemera and / or other avenues.

Lisa and Jan. Photograph: Rikaela Rusch.

Hannah Aiello and Barbara Cheshire

Hannah Aiello is drawn primarily to portraiture, embracing the challenge of capturing her subjects’ physical likeness and inner essence. Hannah considers herself technically competent in watercolour realism, and strives to develop her work into oil painting with technical guidance, direction and support from her mentor. Hannah’s 2024 goal is to enter several national portrait prizes and develop her portraiture technique, as well as finding her feet with creative projects which explore botanical and natural themes. Her long term aim is to 'level up' her practice to become a sustainable, commercially successful and full-time artist.

Hannah and Barbara. Photograph: Daniel Qualischefski.

Sarah Treadwell and Jenny Mulcahy

Sarah Treadwell works primarily in mixed media - using found objects to create sculptures and prints. Her pieces also serve as inspiration for accompanying illustrations. She is passionate about repurposing materials and has a strong desire to develop further technical and structural skills. By working with and being guided by an experienced artist, Sarah hopes to develop and progress her work with found objects and environmental concepts. She also hopes to extend critical thinking around and directions for her work, situating it in the context of art history and contemporary art.

Sarah and Jenny making paper. Image courtesy of the artists.

Sabrina Toby and Alison McDonald

Sabrina Toby is a First Nations woman from Gangulu country in Central Queensland. Her arts practice consists of channelling her Cultural expressions through diverse media, including acrylic painting, jewellery, décor, resin work, woodwork (including painted or pyrographed Coolamons). She is inspired by her Culture, and motivated by her connections to her people and land. Sabrina produces jewellery that embraces her heritage, and runs a small business Bara Bidyiri which means “make your dreams” in Gangulu language. Sabrina aspires to more freely express herself in many art forms, beyond being known as “the earring lady” in her community.  She would like others to see what else she is capable of - to expand her knowledge in the creative arts and learn new techniques and skills. Within Transitions, Sabrina would like her mentor to expand her creative knowledge and skills in jewellery making and fine arts, with a likely focus on the practical aspects of making breastplates. This coincides with Sabrina’s own research and reflections (to reclaim the breastplates in spite of their colonial history) for text to be embossed onto the plates.

Sabrina and Alison. Photograph: Rikaela Rusch.

Vicki Katthagen and Ann Vardanega

Vicki Katthagen’s work is focussed on botanical photography that delves into connections, colour psychology, human emotions and well-being. Vicki explores how flowers act as catalysts for human connection and evoke emotions and memories. Her work aims to unravel the conscious and subconscious influences that nature's hues exert on individuals. Shooting in nature with natural light and minimal digital editing, Vicki explores how this approach can soothe or intensify the effects of the environment on inner emotional states. Vicki aims to work with an academic and creative mentor to develop her concepts further and to better understand her existing practice as an emerging artist. Vicki intends to start a project inspired by the flowers of northern Queensland and the botanical drawings of Betty Hinton, so hopes to refine her direction for that project (including physical manifestation potentially outside of pure photography) with guidance from her mentor.

The Transitions program is a partnership between Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts and Townsville City Galleries. 

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(07) 4772 7109

408 Flinders Street,
Gurambilbarra (Townsville),
Qld, 4810 Australia

PO Box 2394,
Gurambilbarra (Townsville),
Qld, 4810 Australia

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Acknowledgement of Country

Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts respectfully acknowledges the Wulgurukaba of Gurambilbarra and Yunbenun and the surrounding groups of our region - Bindal, Gugu Badhan, Nywaigi, Warrgamay, Bandjin and Gudjal - as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we gather, share and celebrate local creative practice. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first people of Australia. They have never ceded sovereignty and remain strong in their enduring connection to land and Culture.

Umbrella is a Dealer Member of the Indigenous Art Code. This means we are committed to fair and ethical trade with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, and transparency in the promotion and sale of artwork. As a Dealer Member and signatory to the Code we must act fairly, honestly, professionally and in good conscience in all direct or indirect dealings with artists.


Umbrella is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, part of the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, state and territory governments. | Umbrella is supported by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation and receives funding from Creative Australia through the Australian Cultural Fund. | Townsville City Council is a funding partner of Umbrella's program.