Create your future.

Student Stories

Audrey Harnett - Visual Arts

Growing up in Adelaide, I spent 30 years wanting to come up and live on the east coast. I did finally move here and while there have been some incredibly difficult and unexpected challenges with the passing of my husband and the recent floods, the opportunity I had to study art has changed the course of my life.

I had already completed an Arts degree in 2012 as a print maker and jeweller, but I wanted to paint and didn’t have the confidence to start. I came across Byron Community College as I was researching different things to do in the area. I wanted to find a connection with like-minded people who love creating art and the College was perfect.

I started with introductory courses and workshops. I didn’t know anyone in the area at all so the community aspect was amazing. The College was so welcoming and inclusive, beginning with our tutor Virginia and emulated by all the students.

This acceptance, encouragement and support was so positive and totally non-competitive. I started making friends, which really settled me into the area and over time I grew to love it more and more. I loved the equality amongst the different ages and genders, you’re just there with ideas as an individual.

Virginia boosted my confidence so much, teaching me to just to have a go. Her encouragement, support and feedback helped me to see how much I was developing and this really grew my love for painting.

Painting is a real ‘in the moment’ place to be. You lose yourself in it and learn how to be present in a whole new way to appreciate things. For anyone who has had their creativity dashed out, or feels too busy in life to even try it, I would advise trying to find a way where you can go for it. Drop expectations of the outcome and enjoy the process. The College is the place to go in terms of support for that.

After 10 painting courses and much private practise, I am creating work for exhibitions and commissions in Australia and overseas and it all began and grew from studying at the College. Encouragement, community and confidence are the big things that I came away with and I now love supporting and encouraging other artists, seeing the ripples go out to having a better life because they are focussing on the creativity they want to express.