24/10/2018 - 11:05

Kidogo creates art buyers through experience

24/10/2018 - 11:05

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Kidogo Arthouse has held prime position on Fremantle’s Bathers Beach for the past 20 years, and is serving as a base for artists and businesses to collaborate in the port city.

Kidogo creates art buyers through experience
Joanna Robertson says the revenue from weddings and events filters down to support local artists. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Kidogo Arthouse has held prime position on Fremantle’s Bathers Beach for the past 20 years, and is serving as a base for artists and businesses to collaborate in the port city.

Born in Tanzania, Kidogo founder Joanna Robertson was trained as a visual artist in Ireland, before moving to the US and eventually landing in Australia.

She holds fond memories of Ireland’s communal atmosphere, something she is seeking to recreate through Kidogo.

While Ms Robertson established the space primarily for visual artists, the centre hosts weddings, corporate events, music concerts, art classes, exhibitions and the pop-up Kelp Bar.

She has initiated a number of major public artworks, including at the new Children’s Hospital and Fiona Stanley Hospital, and runs the Fenians Festival, which celebrates Fremantle’s Irish heritage.

“I built the business with my turnover and my own money, and I’ve always done that,” Ms Robertson told Business News.

The events held at Kidogo mean artists have their work presented to the public nearly every day.

“Kidogo would sell more art probably than any other gallery in Perth, and we’re talking all different price points.

“When most other galleries are shut, we’re attracting people in who are a new audience for the artist.

“The people coming for events love it, and they’ll often end up purchasing artwork.”

Ms Robertson said parents would often buy art for newlywed couples, connecting the wedding experience with experience of the Kidogo space and the art.

The setting of Kidogo near the ocean and a focus on providing a memorable experience for each visitor, had created an environment that was very conducive to buying art, she said.

Ms Robertson believes the key aspect that has allowed Kidogo to grow over the past two decades is her desire to treat visitors with care, provide memorable experiences and cater to requests.

“The most important thing is how you look after people,” she said.

“It’s taking care to listen to what people are looking for, to give them the things that will make it special to have an event here.”

Ms Robertson is working to bring wider financial benefits to Fremantle.

The recent Fremantle Wedding Walk sparked collaboration between 14 businesses, she said, allowing owners to form close relationships, with mutual benefits.

Showing people they could have a diverse range of experiences within Fremantle could bring in millions, Ms Robertson said

“It’s about attracting people to Fremantle to have an experience in my business, so then they want to stay longer,” she said.

“For every dollar spent with me, many times that will be spent in the community, and I’m very proud of that.

“I don’t believe in fencing-off cultural events.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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