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“I would’ve never dared to go to an art school in Europe" - French artist progresses career with some help from TAFE NSW

TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour

“I would’ve never dared to go to an art school in Europe

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Paris may have The Lourve but one French artist has opted to progress her career as a professional artist on the Coffs Coast, thanks to TAFE NSW’s world-class Diploma of Visual Arts program.

While capital cities may seem like the obvious choice for those studying from abroad, the Coffs Coast has a well-established artistic community, with the region recognised as one of five areas in regional NSW to have a higher-than-average concentration of creative industries.

Janet Besançon, a Diploma of Visual Arts graduate and current Certificate 4 in Arts & Cultural Administration student from Paris, said TAFE NSW offered a practical, hands-on learning style that she preferred to European art schools.

“I would’ve never dared to go to an art school in Europe, it’s so academic and can be quite a high-pressure environment,” Janet said.

“TAFE NSW has opened up my whole world to a new way of learning. It’s so practical and my teachers have given me the permission to further develop as an artist."

Despite being unsure if art could support her and her young family of four as a single mother, Janet’s studies have paid off. She now sells her abstract paintings, which are inspired by local Aboriginal culture, to clients nationally and has secured a role as a Visitor Experience Officer at Coffs Harbour’s new Yarilla Arts & Museum (YAM).

“I could’ve chosen to study something else to put a roof over my head, a more obvious choice, but I thought to myself, you’re in Australia, it’s time to do things with a smile.  In this country, you feel you have a chance to be anything. I went with an open heart and I dared to do something that I’d never dared to do before, to study art at TAFE NSW,” Janet said. 

Sara Bowen, Media, Arts and Entertainment Head Teacher, said the Coffs Coast was an ideal location to start a career in the arts, with the help of TAFE NSW.

“The Diploma of Visual Arts equips students with the specialised technical, creative and conceptual skills to work confidently in the industry,” Ms Bowen said, “and so it’s no wonder such a diverse variety of students enrol with us."

“By the completion of the program, graduates have the industry knowledge required to plan and organise exhibited work and start their careers in world-class cultural institutions such as YAM. As post-pandemic communities crave the cultural connection that the arts bring, there has never been a better time to propel your hobby into a professional career – especially here in Coffs Harbour, where the arts scene is booming.”

Media contact - Lee Tobin, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,