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Four local artists have today been revealed as the recipients of HOTA’s award winning ArtKeeper program, an initiative now in its second year, supporting emerging and established artists to keep creating by putting them on the payroll.

Out of 130 applications received, Gold Coast locals Fletcher Babb, Norton Fredericks, Nadia Milford and Nicholas Tossmann have been named the newest team members to join the Home of the Arts.

Following a callout in August this year announcing the $150,000 investment, HOTA was on the hunt to fulfil its commitment to support artists and help them to keep creating with ArtKeeper.

The program was initially created in response to the conditions produced by the pandemic and the program has evolved as an opportunity to demonstrate HOTA’s commitment to engage artists to create great art, while supporting the City’s cultural and artistic evolution.

In September 2022, ArtKeeper received national industry recognition with HOTA, Home of the Arts receiving the Innovator Award at the Performing Arts Connections (PAC) Australia Impact Awards 2022. The awards celebrate excellence in performing arts, leadership, new thinking and best practice, with a focus on lasting impact in communities. 

As the 2022 iteration of HOTA’s Creative Development Program which launched in 2019, HOTA CEO Criena Gehrke said this program remains a unique offering in this space:

“Here at HOTA we stand by our commitment to support our local artists by providing them with this opportunity so that they can create with a sense of certainty and security. We remain one of the only organisations in Australia to offer this type of initiative and to now have this recognised nationally on an industry level is a great feat for the program,” she said.

“I am delighted to welcome our new ArtKeepers for 2022 and we look forward to supporting them and their projects during their time here at HOTA. What I find most exciting is how the relationship is two  way, we both learn and gain inspiration from each other which is pretty special.”

Each artist has been offered a fixed-term employment contract to work on their proposed art project at HOTA for three days per week until June 2023.

They will be encouraged to take risks, experiment, and create great art in conjunction with internationally acclaimed playwright and artistic director, Wesley Enoch AM, who has been engaged as Artist Provocateur for the roles.

Through the Creative Development Program, HOTA has so far supported 67 projects involving over 124 local artists to date, providing over $325,000 in direct cash support and hundreds of hours of in-kind 

labour, space, and assistance to develop and deliver new works.

For more information on the ArtKeeper program, visit


Cold Ghost is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and sound designer, Fletcher Babb. Fletch has called the Gold Coast home for over a decade. His moniker is more than just a spoonerism of his adopted city, it’s a reflection of how he observes and interprets what’s right in front of us. His latest album ‘Dominoes’ was written, recorded and produced entirely in his home studio and was a finalist for Release of the Year in the 2022 Gold Coast Music Awards. He is also the creator, curator and composer of the successful stage show “Stories in the Key of GC”, marrying spoken word with music and sound to explore rich local narratives of the city of the Gold Coast.  

Norton Fredericks is a queer sustainable fibre artist and workshop facilitator with Indigenous heritage living and working on Bullongin Country, Hope Island. Norton’s primary focus is creating handmade wool felt and using botanical dyes extracted from Australian native plants. Connecting to ancient crafts has given him insight into culture and a skillset that he translates into his contemporary textile practice. Norton’s work is rooted in connecting to place and imbuing story into the natural fibres he works with. He aims to create art with as little environmental impact as possible that also helps spread awareness of the polluting textile industry. Norton was the recipient of the Commendation and People’s Choice Awards at 2022 Churchie emerging arts prize as well as recently having his first solo exhibition at Aboriginal Art Co. 

Nadia Milford is a performance artist who also creates her own multidisciplinary works integrating dance, theatre, film and immersive installation. She has created and performed works for national and international audiences. Her feature works include We, The Ocean (Swell Festival), Bridge (Moving Body Festival Bulgaria) MAID (Tempo Dance Festival), Bridging Freedom(Sankar Festival India) Passing Through Dusk (International Screendance Festival Freiburg), (Ideal is Just and Idea (Dancenorth A.R.T. Residency)  @WHY (Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance). During 2020 Nadia conducted research into the possibilities of dance within Extended Reality technology creating the mixed reality dance work TWORLDS. She has also toured with Phluxus2’s Angel Monster for Edinburgh Fringe and Brisbane Festival, Angela Chaplin’s If Only I Could, for Laidley Cultural Centre and QPAC and Jacob Watton’s And Juliet for Busan International Dance Festival and Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance. Drawing on a diverse blend of styles and practices, Nadia uses storytelling as a movement for empowerment and togetherness.

Nicholas Tossmann’s practice investigates his experience of being a conceptual artist as part of his philosophical search of self and purpose. He explores these ideas methodically by analysing and questioning his art practice, which involves the process of researching, making and critically reflecting. Nicholas uses text, diagrams and mapping as a self-reflexive approach to art making, often taking the form of performance, installation and moving image. His work offers an insight into his oscillating sense of purpose through practice. His work invites a contemplation of the expansive potential of art to question our purpose. 


In 2019, HOTA’s inaugural Creative Development Program offering flung the doors open for 12 Projects to spend significant time in development on site at HOTA, in conjunction with support from the City of Gold Coast. If you were lucky enough to see the premiere of the outstanding dance theatre work Glass Child in March 2021, or you’ve attended a Stories in the Key of GC event curated by Cold Ghost and hosted by Bern Young, you’ve experienced some of the outstanding projects by local artists that HOTA backed from their inception. 

In 2020, HOTA were forced to adapt their original program offer, but proudly supported 51 digital projects developed and delivered online at rapid speed through their Rage against the V(irus) call-out. HOTA also fast-tracked the commissioning of 19 local artists to make and present work for the new $60.5 million HOTA Gallery’s inaugural exhibition, Solid Gold: Artists from Paradise.

In 2021, we continued to respond to the conditions created by the pandemic by introducing ArtKeeper. We placed 4 local artists on the payroll for 3 days a week for 5 months to create new work. Watch the video to find out more.