Sandra’s early career direction was set when she won a scholarship to study classical ballet at the Scully Borovanski school in Sydney. This led to obtaining Royal Academy of Dancing teaching qualifications at the Arts Educational School in London and, upon returning to Australia, dancing in several musicals at the Princess and Her Majesty’s theatres in Melbourne and the other Australian capitals and New Zealand. Later on, she was contracted as an actor with various theatre companies in Australia, England and Wales.
Taking an about turn, Sandra received a Degree in Fine Art at the SA School of Art, where she won various awards and prizes for her sculptural installations and performances. The next few years saw Sandra working across several arts disciplines, including sculpture, acting, choreography, play-wrighting and directing. She also lectured in Dance, Dance Drama and Art at various tertiary institutions including Hartley CAE (SA) and the Tasmanian School of Art.
The Australia Council awarded her a three-month travel grant to tour Europe researching Art for Change, and that led to Sandra writing a post-graduate course to encourage government officers to work closer with artists. The Tasmanian School of Art adopted it as a summer school.
In 1997, as ACT Manager, Cultural Planning, Sandra created the first Cultural Map on the Internet for Canberra, exploring the people, places and events that give different communities their own distinctive character. She was then requested by the 18 surrounding local councils to help them create their own cultural maps, which came together as a cultural map of the Australian Capital Region. This was launched at the Australian National Museum in 2002 and presented by Sandra at an international Heritage Symposium in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in 2003.
After receiving three cultural planning awards from the Royal Australian Planning Institute and the American Planning Association, Sandra moved to Melbourne and coordinated and managed local government arts teams before establishing a cultural planning consultancy, ‘Cultural Edge’.
In 2013, Sandra had an overwhelming desire to paint – and she hasn’t stopped. Her method is to ‘slap paint on my canvasses with my palette knife, without having any idea of what I want to paint. Always, I begin to see faces emerge and then it is simply a matter of teasing them out.’