Lee Darroch

Gurranyin Arts
Riverbank Arts Pty Ltd. | Email

Where and what did you study and what year did you graduate?
Certificate in Koori Art & Design, 1998, East Gippsland TAFE.
Certificate in Small Business Management, 1990, Clarke Carthew & Associates Pty Ltd., Melbourne
Bachelor of Social Work, 1980, Preston Institute of Technology.

Where did you head after graduating?
For ten years I worked as the Manager and Koori Arts Worker for East Gippsland Aboriginal Arts.

When did you launch your own business?
My business Gurranyin Arts was launched in 1996 when I exhibited in the Access Gallery of the National Gallery of Victoria. Riverbark Art Pty Ltd was launched in 2007.

What motivated you to start your own business?
I have a passion to create, design and make beautiful Koori art that has a meaning and resonance and to continue our cultural traditions into the future with new, modern materials.

How would you describe your business to someone who didn’t know you?
Gurranyin Arts is a Koori design, arts and cultural business that produces meaningful, beautiful graphic arts, public art and fine art. Riverbark Arts Pty Ltd is a Koori owned and managed company. It runs large scale projects in arts and culture, undertakes project management and cultural consulting and will manufacture products upon request.

What are the most challenging parts of being a designer running a small business?
The two main challenges now for Gurranyin Arts’ development are managing family and work life and also financial management.

What inspires your design projects?
The land, connection to country, culture and traditions, a desire to educate others about our culture and a passion to make things.

What are the next steps for you?
The next steps are to gain a business mentor to assist with financial planning, to do market research into possible commercially viable designs for the future and to design, manufacture and find retailers for a product range.

Lee Darroch received a scholarship from the Australian Design Unit to participate in Springboard Stage One.

Published 15 July 2008.

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