Artist Lara Merrett will “harness the community’s creative input” in a 10-day outdoor studio starting at The University of Queensland Art Museum on Monday 29 April.

Art Museum Senior Curator Peta Rake said the St Lucia Campus community would help produce 60 paintings to be included in High Stakes, a large-scale art installation opening at the Art Museum in July. “The exhibition will seek to break down barriers between artist, artwork and audience by actively engaging them all in the creative process,” Rake said. “Bamboo designers and architects Cave Urban will work with Lara and a group of volunteers this month to harvest, dry and assemble bamboo structures for an outdoor studio on the Art Museum lawn.”

Forty volunteers will then work with Lara across 10 days, painting 60 fabric canvasses suspended in the outdoor studio. “This project bridges the divide between the studio and the exhibition,” Rake said. “We hope that being close to the creation of these works and making physical contact with the fabric paintings in the Art Museum space will challenge audience assumptions about what painting can be and how we can engage with it.”

Artist Lara Merrett said the large scale of the High Stakes project was ideal for a participatory approach. “The lawn in front of UQ Art Museum is a highly visible public space and felt like the perfect location for a makeshift workplace,” Merrett said. “The studio will be a hands-on space that responds to the University environment and the people who participate in the project. I like the process of the outdoor painting studio becoming a gathering place to make, sit and talk and, as the work changes each day, I expect it will generate new intriguing conversations and engagement.”

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