Artstate Festival and Conference Launched in Bathurst
Today at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre, Regional Arts NSW launched Artstate Bathurst, the second iteration of a four-year program building upon conversations, partnerships and opportunities for regional artists and arts organisations. Partnering with Arts OutWest, this four-day event in Bathurst will welcome an anticipated 200 arts industry delegates and include a line-up of inspirational speakers, accompanied by a multi-genre arts program showcasing the very best in arts from the Central West region.
In launching Artstate Bathurst, The Hon Paul Toole, MP, Member for Bathurst, announced the NSW Government’s funding support for Artstate Bathurst and its commitment to the arts in regional NSW.
Following the success of Artlands Dubbo 2016, presented by Regional Arts NSW, the inaugural Artstate was held in Lismore last year where the Mayor, Cr Graeme Hanger OAM, urged delegates to visit Bathurst for a different experience of regional excellence. Speaking at the launch today he said he looked forward to welcoming delegates from across the state and internationally to show the strength and diversity of arts practice in this region.
“Bathurst Regional Council understands that the arts are critical to the future of our city and that Artstate helps demonstrate the range of excellence in our region. The arts program is a free event for all the community and I hope local residents will take advantage of this unique opportunity to immerse themselves in this celebration.”
Chair of Regional Arts NSW, Stephen Champion announced the appointment of local creative, Adam Deusien as the Creative Director of the Arts Program.
“Regional arts practice of the highest order is prolific in NSW but it still often occurs without recognition; particularly by reviewers and our urban counterparts. Artstate is set to change this by placing the spotlight on a different regional hub each year for the next four years,” said Stephen Champion.
“Artstate will also demonstrate that regional NSW is at the epicentre of national and international debate and discourse about the vital relationship of the arts to communities.”
The event will have a celebratory public opening ceremony on the evening of Thursday 1 November, followed by two days of keynote speakers and panels exploring the themes of A Sense of Place and Robust Regions. A number of international keynote speakers will be travelling to Bathurst for Artstate, and a call for papers for panel and breakout sessions is now open.
Recently confirmed speakers in the program include Kresanna Aigner, Director of Findhorn Bay Arts. Located in the small rural community of Forres in the far north of Scotland, this multi-award winning festival focuses on outstanding standing projects for young people. A collaborative venture, Findhorn Bay Arts works with participating artists, partners, volunteers and the local community to achieve its vision and deliver its projects.
Artstate Bathurst will also welcome international speaker Frith Walker, Place Manager, Panuka Development, Aukland, New Zealand. Originally hailing from theatre and events, Frith’s role has a specific focus on the programming and place management of the new public spaces on the Aukland CBD Waterfront. Her work involves the creation of successful public space networks, supporting the programming and activation of public spaces, and championing the difference a healthy public realm can make in terms of creating liveable cities.
Accompanying the speakers program will be a diverse arts program showcasing the rich artistic and cultural identity of the Central West. The arts program is free and open to the whole community.
As part of this public arts program, three of Bathurst’s world class museums will welcome Resident Artists to develop new works. The Mineral and Fossil Museum, the National Motor Racing Museum and Chifley Home will open their doors to a group of artists, established and emerging who will create new work in response to the collections to be premiered as part of Artstate Bathurst.
Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre’s collaboration with the Australian Theatre for Young People, The Climbing Tree, will also have its world premiere at Artstate. This new play is part drama, part music, part ghost story, and a personal tale that reflects experiences shared in towns across Australia, directed by BMEC’s own Stephen Champion.
Machattie Park will come alive with sculpture, installation, live music and performance during the entire Festival, welcoming both Conference delegates and the Bathurst community to discover the space in new and surprising ways. The evenings will feature some of the Central West’s favourite musicians, including a free outdoor concert by Smith & Jones.
Applications for the conference call for papers are now open at www.artstatensw.com.au
Image: Paul Toole MP (Member for Bathurst) with Jesse Alton (artist), Nicole Welch (artist), Adam Deusien (Creative Director, Artstate Bathurst Arts Program) and Johanna Williams (artist). Photo by Katelyn-Jane Dunn.