The Orana Arts team has been gearing up for 2017 and with the excitement of new projects and networks comes the consideration of where we are, where we want to be, and most importantly what we want for the arts in our region. These considerations wouldn’t be possible without reflecting on the biggest arts event to blow through Dubbo, well, EVER. And so, here are our ARTLANDS highlights and inspirations:
Alicia Leggett, Executive Director
ARTLANDS Dubbo, I’ve been waiting for it since Kumuwuki/Big Wave in Goolwa South Australia in 2012. I was walking to the big tent for the final keynote address and the RAA handover to Western Australia for 2014, when Elizabeth Rogers said, well it comes to NSW in 2016. If you ask me as a regional arts organisation did it meet our expectations, well no: it surpassed them. The keynote addresses were inspiring and thought-provoking, with a constant buzz of conversations around them. The cultural program (kudos to Greg Pritchard) was full-on and excellent in quality… a bit of everything and everyone and I’m grateful that he acknowledged our regional talents who took the opportunity to take part in it.
What about the legacy, you ask (or someone will)? The inspiration is the legacy – as regional arts organisation we were all left feeling that our message was acknowledged, that regional arts is vital to the identity of Australian culture and it merits support from all cultural institutions (small, medium and large). ARTLANDS gave us and my fellow RADOs the opportunity to show off what we do and present to a national audience that we are leaders in regional arts. At a local level, you ask: watching from the sideline a group of local artists meet just days after the conference to discuss ‘where to now’ and speak of ideas, critical dialogue and big picture stuff, that is the local legacy… and I’m excited to see what they come up with.
Paris Norton, Administration Officer
As a newcomer to the art scene, this was my first experience of ARTLANDS and I was overwhelmed by the level of exciting and interesting things to see and do! I found myself immersed in the arts in a way I haven’t experienced before in regional NSW. All of the speakers inspired me during the conference – speaking to me as both an arts administrator and artist– but in particular Mark McMillan and Karl Johnstone and their vision for the arts and what their determination to see these visions through has created. It has given me a sense of clarity and confidence in my own vision and abilities within the arts.
Portia Lindsay, Communications Officer
This was my first ARTLANDS conference and it left me impressed and inspired (and exhausted in a good way!). What struck me most was the way that Orana Region artists worked so enthusiastically and engagingly to showcase their work to a broader audience – particularly Kim Goldsmith’s installation piece Volucres, the Biding Time performance brought over from Mudgee, and the way that Festival Director Greg Pritchard could bring together that spectacular opening show using a mix of performers and local volunteers – and I must admit that it was extremely gratifying to see the hard work of Orana Arts project managers and some truly talented artists be recognised through two marvellous exhibitions: At the Junction of Two Rivers in Wellington and Wala-Gaay (the Left Field Project 2 exhibition).
Of the conference content, I was really pleased to see discussions including young artists – particularly the Arts NSW session on Young Regional Artist Scholarship recipients, which included Dubbo’s Heidi Maree Francis – and was inspired to look at the bigger picture (I think that we’re all guilty of getting bogged down in the daily slog from time to time) by Kate Fielding’s closing keynote address. I’m invigorated and excited about what 2017 will bring for the arts in the Orana Region.
Eleanor Cook, OA Board (Coolah)
My ARTLANDS take-home message was a wonderful experience of connection to country, culture and clans; especially through the print-making, weaving, Welcome to Country and stories so generously shared. I am enriched with new networks woven on another layer.
Anne-Louise Capel, OA Board (Warrumbungle Shire Council)
I immensely enjoyed the focus on art in hospitals: Local Arts Responses to NSW Regional Hospital redevelopment. To me it is plain commonsense to have art and art performances in hospitals to make the environment for patients one of hope, fun, distraction, or calmness, depending on the space the art is required in and the medical function it serves. Anything that makes a hospital less scary is positive, especially for children. I also found the Focus on Festivals session interesting and informative and will adopt some of the ideas going forward.