Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts on harnessing staff enthusiasm

PICA was one of our success stories from Plus1 2014/15. Development Manager Jo Malone tells us about the experience and gives us insights into what they learnt from their campaign.

Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts on harnessing staff enthusiasm

Sometimes you have to go with your gut!

When PICA was successful in its application to Creative Partnerships Australia for the PLUS1 funding to ramp up the fundraising campaign, the timeline and ART1000 program was set in concrete and ready to launch to encourage donations of $1000+ in May.

But in the background was the PICA outlier in arts fundraising, with PICA staff members training – slogging it out in the gym, in the pool and on the track for the grueling 19.7 km open water Rottnest Swim joining 2,500 swimmers on 21 February as team PICAnauts – to raise much need funds for the PICA Studio and Creative Development Programs.

When the approval came for the PLUS 1 funding, the in-house, bespoke crowd funding drive to support the intrepid PICAnauts had just been launched.

The knowledge that all funds raised through a superhuman physical commitment to the arts would be matched by Creative Partnerships added a whole new level of excitement to the short, sharp campaign from 2 to 21 February.


PICAnauts text graphic

While crowdfunding was not part of the original plan, it was a great way to kickstart it.

The manic social media campaign, full of promise and pain, really focussed attention on PICA and our fundraising efforts. We were able to report that thanks to Creative Partnerships we had exceeded our $10,000 goal by $2.000 (over $12,000 in total and one of the best team fundraising efforts for the event).

The PICAnauts undertook their maiden voyage to Rotto in 2014. Being the only group representing an arts organisation, this original and fearless quartet of art professionals swam in the name of art and raised over $5000 for West Australian artists.

With a massive facebook following, this surprise entry shocked the nation with their fast and furious fundraising efforts – and the fact they made it to the island alive, and in time!

This year the stakes and art factor were higher as PICA’s legendary Director Amy Barrett-Lennard joined the squad alongside Rotto Channel Swim alumni Curator Leigh Robb, Exhibitions Manager Nadia Johnson and Communications Manager Renae Coles, to lead an all female team.

Styling it up – local artist luminary Tarryn Gill designed the swimsuits in collaboration with designer Ingrid Zurzolo. The PICAnauts let the world know that sport and culture can come together, fuelled by girl power!


The PICAnautsare an example of team-building at its best.

Captained by PICA’s Production Manager Andrew Beck (aka ‘Hammerhead’); kept on course by kayakers Melissa McGrath (PICA Education Curator) & Phoebe Tran (PICA Gallery Attendant); and trained by PICA Install technician and surfer David Brophy.

The boat was skippered once again by ‘Nerves of Steel’ Nick Rawlins and generously lent by John Corser, both PICA philanthropists and lovers of the high sea, high risk and high art!

The PICAnauts campaign segued beautifully into our earlier-than usual ART1000 drive resulting in a great boost to the fundraising, enabling more donors to participate in the ART1000 program and attend the much-vaunted PICA Salon Vernissage in July.


By the end of the campaign we had exceeded our $40,000 goal by $8,000.

This ensured that a large proportion of our annual donations were received by the end of May giving momentum to the end of the financial year campaign.

The primary benefit to the campaign was impetus and focus of the PLUS1 funding and of course, the financial benefit of the additional funds to support the ongoing sustainability of the PICA philanthropy program.

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