Have you ever been curious about what actually goes on in an artist’s studio or wondered what is being created behind the walls you walk past every day? Or perhaps you’re an artist looking to make some new professional connections and broaden your skills. This weekend heralds the perfect event for you: Meet the Makers, a chance to get up close and personal with Melbourne’s creatives and artisans.

Curated by art consultant Bernadette Alibrando and comprising eight events at several artist run spaces and studios across Fitzroy and Collingwood, Meet the Makers was inspired by Alibrando’s time in New York, where she encountered TOAST, an artist collective in Tribeca whose aim was to educate the wider community about the artists working among them. Coming back to Melbourne and establishing Walk to Art, where she leads tours of art spaces, she was struck by how enthusiastic people became when they were being introduced to art in ways that stripped back the pretention.

“Throughout my career, I’ve always wanted to work towards educating people in understanding the long journey of being an artist,” says Alibrando. “From doing the walks, I had the realisation that a lot of people don’t know how to access art even if they are interested. It’s a lack of understanding, a fear of going into spaces because they either think it’s too hipster, too out of reach, or they are somehow not cool enough to join in. Meet the Maker lets people see the artist make the work, appreciate the time and effort that goes into it, joining the dots between individuals, art and artists.”

This sense of greater connectivity between artists and the communities that surround them really resonates with Alibrando. “The artists who take up residence around Collingwood and Fitzroy really do contribute to making the area so vibrant. [Through Meet the Maker] not only do you get the chance to meet the people behind these spaces, but you get to discover and appreciate spaces you might not know existed – for instance, Upstairs at the Napier is an artists’ space at the Napier Hotel. Who knew that that was there!”

Start off on Thursday night with opening night at Dear Patti Smith with artist Cat Poljski’s etchings of imagined cities. Friday sees New York Studio School of Painting alumni Rebecca Jones teaching you how to make digital drawings on your iPad, or you can head over to Double Monk and have brothers Chris and Nick Schaerf show you the finer art of shoe polishing over a dram or two of whiskey.

On Saturday, the Jacky Winter Group session with Jeremy Wortsman on how to become an illustrator and join a creative agency will be packed full of “priceless information” according to Alibrando. “It’s an invaluable opportunity to discover what people from agencies look for in an illustrator.” Equally of interest to budding artists is the session about how to apply for an artist space.

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Also on Saturday is a meet-the-artists dinner, a rare opportunity to engage directly with artists over dinner at Fehily Contemporary, care of the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre. Finish on Sunday by visiting the studio of world-renowned street artist Rone and learn about the inspirations behind his cinematic graffiti art.

Find a way to become engaged with your local art community with Meet the Makers. Nearly all the sessions are free and, who knows, you might just end up finding the inspiration to start your own artistic journey.

Meet the Makers runs from March 21 to 24 at various locations. For the full program, click here.