Dynamic COFA duo, Penelope Benton and Alexandra Clapham, have created a “sensory and exploratory” Art Month as co-artistic directors of the annual festival.

Now in its fourth year the festival promotes the diversity of contemporary art in Sydney through 300 exhibitions, 200 artists and 100 art spaces.

Benton and Clapham are emerging artists working and studying at COFA. Benton is COFA Manager of Arc@UNSW and a current Master of Fine Arts candidate. Clapham is a final-year Bachelor of Fine Arts student and manager of Arc’s student-run Kudos Gallery.

The co-artistic directors said they used a variety of different formats in the festival including public dinner parties and panel events to create dialogue around creative collaboration.

The Two’s Company panel involved creative couples discussing their collaboration and included acclaimed artistic collaborators and UNSW alumni, partners Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, and local chef Kylie Kwong and her partner, the artist Nell.

Partners in life and work themselves, Benton and Clapham agree their creative relationship sometimes has both benefits and pitfalls.

“Work continues over breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said Benton. But Clapham adds their “different skills complement each other".

The co-artistic directors agree their proudest Art Month moment has been the “tremendous” support they have experienced from fellow artists and galleries involved inthe festival.

“I’ve loved watching our program come to life, and seeing people really engage with it,” said Benton.

Both artists said their time studying and working at COFA has enabled them to foster invaluable relationships in Sydney’s art world.

“A big part of being at COFA is the networks you build, and we couldn’t have created this year’s Art Month festival without those,” said Benton.  

Art Month runs until March 24.

Media contact: Fran Strachan | 9385 8732