The Art Keepers

A collaboration with Lismore Regional Gallery and 100 Wonder Place.

Intergalactic art portals, discombobulated talking paintings, miniature elephants, banana phones, still life run aways and lots of crazy antics by The Art Keepers, Mona and Lisa, on a mission to find the infamous missing gallery guide Peggy Popart.

The Art Keepers project was a month-long participatory art adventure and audience development project commissioned by Lismore Regional Gallery.

Over 5000 people experienced the mad-cap story through multiple platforms including: a series of three public art making events, live performances, video installations and social media and print articles.


Concept and co-creation: Claudie Frock, Valley Lipcer,Gabrielle Griffin.
Producer: Claudie Frock.
Performers: Claudie Frock, Gabrielle Griffin, Valley Lipcer.
Video Production: Rohan Langford.


The story was that Peggy Popart, Lismore Regional Gallery’s already well known tour guide, had gone missing through an art portal in the new gallery venue, along with some of the artworks from the permanent collection.  Two agents, Mona & Lisa, from the Art Keeper Agency (AKA), an inter-dimensional art agency had been called to Lismore to investigate and try to bring her back.

The agents suspected that the portal had malfunctioned and swallowed up Peggy because of weak art appreciation levels in Lismore (due to the old gallery being closed and the new gallery not yet being open) and they made it their mission to work with the community to raise art appreciation. After a month of enthusiastic art making and appreciating their plan worked and Peggy and the artworks were brought back out of the portal.

The Art Keepers Project had a reach of 44,818 people, with over 5000 people attending the performances and art activations and many thousands more following the stories in the paper and on social media. Attendance tripled for the first Peggy Popart tour in the new Lismore Regional Gallery with a record attendance of 66 participants.

Art Keepers was an audience development project commissioned by The Lismore Regional and supported by Create NSW’s Audience Development Fund, a devolved funding program administered by Museums & Galleries of NSW on behalf of the NSW Government. It was created in collaboration with 100 Wonder Place and produced by Claudie Frock.

The stories and characters completely seized the imagination of local schools and families who followed the drama through a partnership with the local newspaper and via videos on social media –school teachers even reported their kids were mimicking the characters involved, pretending to be Peggy Popart by talking on their banana phones during snack breaks at school.

(Facebook comment)

I just wanted to say how much I’m loving this Peggy Pop Art being sucked into a David Lynch style portal.  It’s fun, interactive, situating, kids and adults would be loving it! I wonder if Digby’s painting went back to The Dreamtime? It’s such a great way to make art gallery’s friendly, community based fun places rather than white walls’.

(Facebook comment)

The Art Keepers Project was a great example of how to engage a community and activate works from a collection – even without a gallery space open at the time – building momentum and maintaining an audience for the new venue’.

This long-term audience engagement program was the result of careful research and consultation with the Lismore community and a significant development phase, bringing great success to the project and increased loyalty to and involvement with the new Lismore Regional Gallery development.’

Full article here 

From a review on The Museums and Galleries of NSW website