Shopfront is the home of youth arts
Shopfront stands as Sydney’s only cross-art form organisation led by and dedicated to the artistry of Young People. For over four decades, Shopfront has amplified the voices of Young People. Supported by practising, professional artists, our Young People make bold and ambitious works of creative expression. We are an inclusive community of artists sharing a common goal of making great art (and having a lot of fun along the way).
Our artistic practice is co-operative. Our process of collaborative art making is social, political, and empowering. Our Young People are challenged to consider their place in the world and respond to it through art of all forms. Working with established artists, our Young People experience art as valued creators, developing critical thinking and a lifelong love of the arts. Emerging and early career artists at Shopfront experience unprecedented access to artistic career opportunities, developing their creative practice in a safe and supportive space. Our Young People represent a vibrant future for the arts in Australia as makers, innovators, and engaged audiences.
Shopfront is indispensable to the ecosystem of the arts in Australia, and to the wider community. Our community extends beyond our muraled walls with our artist networks, co-produced works, and our socially engaged programs that dive into the heart of community needs, working in partnership through dialogue and artistic thinking. Our quirky community is a welcome space for all, where every voice is valued.
At Shopfront, our very structure puts our Young People at the heart of our art and decision making. Just like our artistic practice, our organisation is also co-operative. As a co-op we exist for and are directed by our members. All of our Shopfront Young People are our members, and this co-op structure means that our Young People determine the purpose and rules of our co-op. As members they are equally entitled to vote on core issues that shape the co-op as a whole. Shopfront is a platform for emerging arts leaders. And we, as an organisation, are leaders in youth advocacy and consultation.
From our first members in 1976 who fundraised to buy our very own building with 50-hour act-a-thons, and with government and community support, a legacy of shared purpose has continued. Being a member of Shopfront means you are part of something. You are responsible for something. You aren’t just one Young Person trying to shout above the noise. Together we are a powerful collective.
As a not-for-profit in a competitive arts space, we are an underdog, but that doesn’t stop us from dreaming big. We champion acts of artistic bravery. We are acknowledged for this bravery through awards, recognition and support of arts bodies, and by the thousands of people who have at one time or another in the last four decades considered Shopfront to be their second home.
As we expand and evolve, we will always seek to retain those qualities that make Shopfront unique in the hearts and minds of the young artists who have shared our community. As we strive to be the premier NSW destination for youth arts we won’t lose sight of our heritage as a grassroots creative hub, dreamt of and built by passionate Young People in South Sydney. Shopfront is theirs, it is ours, and in the future Shopfront will grow to belong to many more inspiring Young People.
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