Country Arts SA 25

Artists at the Epicentre

MOMENT 15 • 2006

A tragic event on the Southern Eyre Peninsula brought the plight of artists into sharp relief. In the widespread destruction of the 2005 bushfires, some artists lost their homes, studios and portfolios of work built over many years. In the aftermath, the strong local community of artists developed an exhibition of work in response, for which we provided touring support and Learning Connections resources.

Over the next several years the exhibition toured around the nation delivering a strong message of hope and regeneration for the future, demonstrating the crucial role arts can play in building confidence and hope out of adversity.

Part of our response was to commission works by local artists who were directly affected by the fires. Prior to this we’d certainly assisted artists to make work, but directly commissioning artists to produce work was something new.

Over the next few years many more opportunities would arise to work directly with artists to explore local stories and make great art, particularly through the Regional Centres of Culture and the Performance Development programs. These experiences proved to us that finding those unique convergences between great artists, communities, and the land in which they live, uncovers great stories, creates a deep engagement and produces artwork that can’t be made anywhere else.

For several years now, we have been making work that takes inspiration or influence from somewhere in regional South Australia. We make work that no other company can make and we now firmly place artists at the core of all our work.

Written and researched by Jo Pike for Country Arts SA


Telling Regional Stories

A confluence of events around 2007 – the transfer of funds from Mount Gambier’s former Mainstreet Theatre to a new regionally-based Performance Development program***, and the instigation by the State Government of the Regional Centres of Culture****, both of which we would manage – brought about a loosening of the bonds of traditional funding criteria, a mandate to produce new performance works both in and with regional communities, the re-imagining of spaces, and the freedom to explore a...

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