Country Arts SA 25

When too much art is barely enough

MOMENT 17 • 2007

Now it was getting serious. Keen to be the first in Australia to invigorate regional centres through an intense and fully immersive level arts exposure similar to the successful European Model, the State Government selected Port Augusta as its first Regional Centre of Culture in a six year experiment which we would manage in partnership with local government.

Where the desert meets the sea, Port Augusta Re-Imagines rolled out in 2008. The Rural City of Murray Bridge, on the banks of the mighty river, successfully tendered to host Ripples in 2010 and Alexandrina Council won the third biennial for Goolwa, its town at the river’s mouth in 2012.

In the beginning it was a clean slate. There being no local precedent, it was a licence to experiment with what could happen if you inject two million arts dollars into a single place over the course of one year.

A metamorphosis of fatigued buildings into flexible new arts spaces complemented a bespoke, evolving, all-encompassing arts immersion that had the potential to touch every member of community in some way or another.

A bowl of spaghetti and meatballs emerged, with many nodes and tangled pathways, colours, flavours and sensations marvellously transforming, depending on who dipped in their fork and spoon.   Importing gourmet ingredients from elsewhere, but recognising the freshness and sustainability of local produce, our magic puddings were made with love and pride and have continued to provide sustenance for the three communities whose willingness to whet their collective appetites has been richly rewarded.

Written and researched by Jo Pike for Country Arts SA


Embedding Artists and Embedding the Model

As our Performance Development program found its feet around 2007, the residency emerged as a foundation principle for making work that not only tells a regional story, but also has the capacity to tour beyond the community in which it is made. The role of a creative producer to pull the strings and guide the artistic process was becoming integral to our core our business.

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