$160,000 announced for regional artists and communities in Victoria

RAV Rose Ertler's Insultations - photo by Theresa HarrisonFourteen projects in Victoria have received $160,000 in funding through the Australian Government’s highly competitive Regional Arts Fund, delivered in Victoria by Regional Arts Victoria.

Director of Partnerships at Regional Arts Victoria, Liz Zito, said that the projects would contribute greatly to the creative activity occurring across the state throughout the year.

“Here is a broad spectrum of artistic practice, including Indigenous storytelling, sound art, weaving, theatre making and visual arts. Mentorships and residencies, as well as creative new works, feature heavily within this Regional Arts Fund round,” Ms Zito said.

“Regional Arts Victoria is proud to partner with the Australian Government on this program, and we thank the applicants, as well as our independent panel, for their commitment to this vital fund.”

Successful applicants in 2018 Round 1 are:

Rosalind Crisp – Marlo
DIRt (Dance In Regional disasTer zones) develops dance that responds to environmental issues of significance to the local community, fostering sustainable arts practice by regional performance artists living in far East Gippsland. DIRt #4 is a three-week project with East Gippsland professional dancer/choreographer Rosalind Crisp and regional NSW multimedia artist Vic McEwan, working in the Swifts Creek community and on nearby Mt. Delusion, where widespread logging is converting mixed-aged native forests into vast agricultural monocrops. The artists will develop dance, video, photo and sound recording materials for a performance on site and two installations at East Gippsland Art Gallery, Bairnsdale.

Lynden Nicholls – Ballarat East
Facing Up is a continuous sound installation commenting on prime ministerial statements concerning the status and well-being of Australia’s Indigenous population from federation to the present day. Issues such as land rights, citizenship and treaty are revealed. It will take place along Ballarat’s avenue of prime ministers in the botanical gardens bringing the statues to life. Opening and closing performances will involve Indigenous and non-Indigenous actors and dancers along with a smoking ceremony and welcome to country. Facing Up is a part of the Biennale of Australian Art held in Ballarat for six weeks from 21 September 2018.

Spa Country Events Group Inc. – Hepburn
The Mosquito is dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. Modelled on story slams, The Moth in New York and ABC’s Now Hear This, the series is unique in aiming to tell the story of the local community by focusing the slam themes to elicit the story of the Hepburn Shire. Storytelling workshops will be conducted by local storyteller Anne E Stewart and offered to community groups and individuals to help prepare their stories. These workshops will be followed by storytelling heats, run over 10 consecutive Thursdays culminating in an event to choose the “Mosquito” winner. The stories would be recorded for podcast and vidcast.

The BIG Picture Space Inc. – Sale
WTF: Worlds That Find-us is a collaborative art project between Aboriginal artist Ronald Edwards Pepper and non-Aboriginal artist PollyannaR. Together they will explore and document how two contemporary artists negotiate their social identity within the context of culture. This project hopes to inspire a new hybrid language that can replace slang in younger generations of Gippslandians as a simple way to acknowledge Aboriginal history and respect in today’s world. The final outcome for the project will be to condense everything learned in working together into an online resource to be delivered as a workshop series as a strategy of healing in the region.

Wurinbeena – Lakes Entrance
Secrets of Bung Yarnda aims to document the lives of the older residents of Bung Yarnda (Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust) and the surrounding Lakes area on film. Elders hold stories of an era past: bush births, removal of children, “life on the mish” and picking beans for Italians. The project will integrate film training for locals into the process, building the next generation of artists through engagement with Vincent Lamberti of Fringe Dweller Films. The created films will be screened locally in community celebration, be made available via the web, and be part of the Public Records Office of Victoria state collection.

Falls Creek Resort Management – Falls Creek
Mountains of Memories, Falls Creek community stories in sculpture and art will engage the women of Falls Creek in weaving workshops with renowned Yorta Yorta possum skin cloak maker, printmaker, sculptor, weaver and painter Dr Treahna Hamm. The project will allow the community, and its 700,000 annual visitors, to consider Falls Creek’s significant ancient past and contemplate issues of climate change and what we might learn from an Indigenous perspective about our connection to the land.

Wide Open Road Art – Castlemaine
This Moment Becomes More than the Map is a regional art event/installation drawing on the experiences of 10 local participants (including 5 regional artists) to explore the space between geographical and phenomenological mapping. Participants will be tracked over 24 hours as they navigate Castlemaine, their geographical movements monitored for interpersonal connections, also recorded as photographs or notes gathered by participants. This event will be exhibited publicly at the Phee Broadway in Castlemaine as an interactive piece, inviting public engagement and accompanied by an evening of artist talks.

Samantha Bews – Castlemaine
Breaking Bread: A Dementia Awareness Cafe is a live art installation conceived of and directed by theatre artist Samantha Bews, in collaboration with sculptor Eliza-Jane Gilchrist. It will take place for three days from 6 September 2018. The project is a partnership with The Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery and Cafe in Bendigo, central Victoria. The project challenges prejudices within Western medical diagnostic systems that refer to ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ cortical function, seeking to reframe how we perceive a person with dementia, and create new pathways for inclusion and worth.

Kirsten Bradley – Hepburn
A new collaboration between permaculture educators ‘Milkwood’ (Nick Ritar and Kirsten Bradley) and national sound art organisation ‘Liquid Architecture’, Why Listen to Bees is a sound art project exploring the world of the honeybee. As apiarists, Milkwood’s daily observation of their beehive provides complex insights into health, mood and sociality of their bees via the sounds of the hive. Using this ‘bee listening’ as an artistic point of departure, this project stages an array of listening encounters – music, lecture-performances, poetry and soundwalks – in a sonic investigation of bees in Hepburn.

Glenlyon Progress Association – Glenlyon
Nature devours art – In this project the relationship of art to its environment will be explored and ecological awareness will be created, by fusing human creativity and natural surroundings. An artist-in-residence (Jodie Goldring) and an environmental education consultant (Nicole Howie) will be employed to lead the community in identifying and gathering indigenous and exotic plants growing alongside the riparian zone of the Loddon River. Under their guidance, the community will work together to create impermanent eco-sculptures and structures using natural and found objects. The works are intended to be gradually absorbed back into the landscape by the elements.

Basketry and Fibre Arts Forum – Mollongghip
Weaving Connections: Basketry & Fibre Arts Forum, held in September at ‘Lot 19’ in Castlemaine, aims to bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous practitioners on the land of the Dja Dja Wurrung People to celebrate the Regional Centre for Culture. The focus is cultural exchange fostering greater understanding, building protocols and improving networks. Practitioners will meet to share cultural experiences and discuss the function of weaving in their lives and communities. The forum will feature guest speakers, facilitated discussion, participatory workshops and community artwork creating a Bunjil’s nest.

Elly Poletti – Leongatha
Elly Poletti has developed an all-abilities extra-curricular music camp to be run over a three-day period in Leongatha. The Leongatha Music Camp will allow young people and professional local and Melbourne-based musicians and teachers an opportunity to collaborate and create music. The camp will include young people from 10-18 years and will allow them to make new connections while learning new skills. They will immerse themselves in a musical experience that is not often available in small rural towns such as Leongatha. It is an opportunity to celebrate the talent within South Gippsland and build the performing arts culture of the region.

Shepparton Arts Festival Inc. – Shepparton
My Landscape is a project that will collect stories from local people, describing their connection to the areas’ landscapes. These stories will be collected, collated and shared with a number of new and established participant artists from the Greater Shepparton region, who will communicate the stories in their chosen medium. Participant artists will be supported through a skills development experience with selected lead regional artists and a highly accomplished mentor. The resulting works will be exhibited as part of the 2019 Shepparton Festival.

South Gippsland Shire Council – Leongatha
It’s no drama is an emerging inclusive theatre group for people with disabilities. This project will involve the creation of a new original work by the ensemble, with mentorship by Rawcus, and a new partnership with local film production house, Drift Media. It aims to further engage the community in original theatre, with the added dimension of film. Drift Media will mentor ensemble members to produce a short film about the process.

For more information about the Regional Arts Fund, visit: www.rav.net.au for details.

Image: Outside Walk as part of Rose Ertler’s Insultations – photo by Theresa Harrison