Blogs (Media Centre)



An Albury woman whose passion for fashion led her to a 40-year career as a clothing designer with major retailers is now channeling her energies into a new creative field, thanks to study opportunities at TAFE NSW.  


When Michele Monte graduated from Albury High School in 1980, she moved to Melbourne “because you had to leave Albury to get a job in fashion back then” and began a long association with K-Mart, Big W and Target as a designer of sleepwear and active wear.  


But she was always interested in art – especially portraiture – so she’s now come home to Albury to study a Diploma of Visual Art so she can make her next career dream come true.  


It is a good time to enter the creative sector in Albury, with major developments such as AlburyCity’s new Pumphouse Creative Space offering opportunities for growth and collaboration, while the National Skills Commission is forecasting jobs in Australian arts and recreation services to grow by almost 24,000 positions by 2026.  


“I found my niche working as a designer for big companies, but I had an overwhelming longing to do something creative and have control over it,” Ms Monte said.  


“Thanks to what I’m learning in my course, I’m confident of starting my own art practice and selling my work or finding a position in the arts community, which I think has a lot to offer.  


“The flexibility of studying at TAFE NSW helps a lot and the teachers are very supportive so if anyone else my age was considering doing something similar, I’d tell them to go for it.”  


TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Art and Digital Media South, Mary-Jane Griggs, said support from all levels of government and a burgeoning private sector was driving remarkable growth in the local arts scene.  


“Albury’s creative sector has blossomed in recent years with businesses springing up and new career paths developing in the arts, from art education and administration to curating galleries or starting your own art business,” she said.  


“With nationally renowned galleries such as MAMA attracting visitors from around Australia and overseas, Albury is really becoming a destination for creatives which is why it’s wonderful to help people like Michele to achieve their dreams.”  


Among the projects Ms Monte is currently working on at TAFE NSW is a portrait of her grandfather – a very personal inspiration for a fashion-designer-turned-artist.