Hiya. What’s it mean to live creatively in a regional place? How do we engage with the land and communities we live in? How do we find support, and support others? How do we spread the word, make our art accessible, find a market, connect, build a career or a hobby that thrills us?
We’ve been asking these questions ourselves at Arts Upper Hunter as we develop our Strategic Plan for the next three years. This region is full of beauty, character, history, and a lot already going on, creatively. We want the arts to thrive here, drag in tourists, and worm its way into more people’s lives, with vibrancy and joy. It’ll be an interesting journey.
In my first Hello as the new ED of Arts Upper Hunter I was not going to mention Corona. But as we move into the New Normal and things open up, then close again, then open up … yes, these are challenging times. You might even say “surreal”, a word that comes out of an art movement and articulates a dream-like quality to it all, plus droopy clocks.
Our Strategic Plan uses “coming out of Covid” as code for a broader renewal and re-engagement. Keep your eye out for opportunities: check out the Creative Capital grants – your local hall or venue could qualify (details below). And did you know that Transport NSW wants some of their disused infrastructure (think sheds, station master’s houses …) to find new creative or community purposes? More on that next ArtSparks.
Of course, art isn’t the only thing helping keep us all sane. There’s kindness. Looking out for each other. Information. And a little government support, which can sometimes mean negotiating online and phone-queue hurdles. It’s worth persisting!
This appeared in our 1 October 2021 issue of ArtSparks.
Photos by Anna Rankmore. Top from left: Sun Dial at Singleton, Merriwa Silo Art. Bottom from left: James Theatre, Dungog. Reconciliation Mural at Muswellbrook.