Five Queensland towns have celebrated their sense of place through Animating Spaces 2013, in a groundswell of proof that local creativity is key to regional renewal.
Animating Spaces is a state-wide multi-arts initiative designed to revitalise and celebrate significant or unusual spaces within regional communities through locally-driven arts activities and events. Artslink Queensland supported Cleveland, Hervey Bay, Toowoomba, Eudlo and Charters Towers this year to consider what was distinctive about their towns, selecting three spaces they would “animate” with community-led arts activity that reflected the resident’s interests and aspirations. “Bringing people together to celebrate unique places in their community through local artistic practices is one of the key aims of this Queensland initiative”, said Letitia Norton, Creative Communities Director at Artslink Queensland. “Each town took this model and made it their own, with extraordinary results. From interactive video projections, large-scale urban graffiti artworks, a creek-bed sculpture in Toowoomba, percussion sculptures played as Whalesong in Hervey Bay to Eudlo Dreaming’s cello, didgeridoo and choir performance under the giant illuminated main street eucalypt, the breadth and depth of arts products and experiences has been fabulous.” Cleveland opened the state wide series of community arts spectaculars in June with Ignite Redlands Light Arts Festival, featuring musical performances at transport hubs, laser light shows and glow-in-the-dark eco art workshops. Charters Towers’ Letters Around the Towers Extravaganza (LATTE) was a fitting grand finale in September, with sculpture in the iconic Stock Exchange, performances, installations and projected images onto the historic buildings along the Golden Mile.
Kerryanne Farrer, Regional Arts Development Officer at Artslink Queensland supported each Animating Spaces team to revitalise their regional community through the arts. Over 70 artists and artists groups were engaged across Queensland and 20 local project and community coordinators trained and mentored in project management. Almost 90 partnerships between local organisations were brokered to strengthen community. Four QUT Creative Industries students participated as co-artists on projects. Almost 800 participants and 10,000 audience members enjoyed the myriad of arts and cultural activity. In addition, many volunteers and local businesses contributed time and resources, forging new working relationships and building community spirit. Ms Norton, who also manages the Regional Arts Fund said, “This is a new model of “hands-on” funding, directed at employing local artists and coordinators to develop and deliver best practice community arts projects. Digital stories for each of the 2013 towns are now available to view at artslinkqld.com.au/animatingspaces Ms Farrer said, “These short films really showcase the diversity of talent, the sense of fun and the hard work that community drivers put in to the projects. I encourage anyone who wants to be inspired by what a community can do for itself to view these digital stories.”
It’s part of a longer-term strategy to build the capacity of regional communities to generate arts and cultural products from local soil. Ultimately in exploring what is unique and distinctive in their patch, the locals may just hit on a signature event that becomes a drawcard for cultural tourism. Letitia Norton Creative Communities Director Artslink Queensland
Cleveland burst into colour and activity on 14-16 June
Ignite Redlands - Light Art Festival
for the Ignite Redlands Light Art Festival, the first of five Animating Spaces events happening throughout Queensland in 2013.
Presented by Artslink Queensland, RedArts and the Redlands City Council, the festival drew together artists, businesses and the wider Redlands community for three days and nights of light art projections, exhibitions, crafts and live entertainment. Susan Russell, Community Event Coordinator and RedArts President said, “We were thrilled with the turnout for Ignite Redlands, with over 7000 locals and visitors from the whole of the South East quarter. Many locals declared they have never seen Cleveland so alive and activated, and they revelled in the celebratory atmosphere over the whole weekend. Local businesses and restaurants have reported their highest turnover ever, and plans are already underway for more events over the coming months as a direct result of Animating Spaces.” The public transport hubs of Cleveland came alive with TransArt, four unique concert events that showcased local artists and musicians. Karen Henderson, Project Coordinator TransArt and owner of Binary Music said, “I am so proud of what we achieved as a community of artists and arts lovers. Our transport hubs and public spaces were awash with sights and sounds.” Festival goers were also invited to experiment with art installations at the Light Living Art workshops, with materials ranging from laser lights and glow in the dark environments to weaving and mask making with recycled and re-purposed materials.
Tania Davidson, Project Coordinator Living Light Arts and owner of TAH Gallery said, “From the natural fibre weaving workshops through to exploring the glow-inthe-dark hideaway, and constantly playing in and around the art works - there was something for everyone to take-away from their eco-art experience.” The Friday and Saturday Light Arts shows included artwork projections on prominent buildings in the heart of Cleveland, with a highlight being a light parade through Bloomfield Street to the Raby Bay Harbour Park on Saturday night May Sheppard, Project Coordinator Light Art Installations and Parade said, “It was a colourful spectacle, with an avenue of multi-coloured trees, an underwater world splashed across Council Chambers and laser lights dancing across the waters of the marina. Many people commented that they had never realised Cleveland was such a beautiful centre at night. They dressed up, danced to the music and stayed in the precinct until after 9pm on all three nights.
Animating Spaces Toowoomba
underground arts scene on 23, 24 and 25 August with outdoor interactive video projections, a large-scale urban artwork and a creek-bed sculpture park.
“Toowoomba is the perfect environment for contemporary arts practice, being an established rural city with an emerging metropolitan arts community made up of a dynamic DIY artist cohort and growing numbers of tertiary arts graduates choosing to work and play here,” says Community Coordinator Alex Stalling, coowner of Made. Creative Space. “The opportunity for our team to produce Animating Spaces in Toowoomba has generated real interest from council and community in projects that engage the public and celebrate the CBD and waterways” says Community Coordinator Elysha Gould, co-owner of Made. Creative Space. “It has been a catalyst for a change of perspective about public art, space activation and local participation.” Cr. Bill Cahill, Chair of Planning and Development for Toowoomba Regional Council supports this view saying “Council is actively pursuing these kind of initiatives in relation to the implementation of the city centre master plan and Animating Spaces was a demonstration of how this can happen. I fielded a number of positive comments from locals at last night’s public art event and feedback from business owners in the CBD that this is just what is needed.”
“Art in the public realm is often a catalyst for creating a sense place and gives a reason for people to gather. It stimulates conversation, opinion, interpretation and can activate places and contribute real cultural and economic value to business and others in the area.” Cr. Bill Cahill Chair of Planning and Development Toowoomba Regional Council
Up the Creek saw a team of artists carve out an attractive and safe access to a forgotten creek and craft intriguing ephemeral artworks from debris retrieved from the creek. Real Time Your Time, reminiscent of candid camera in Toowoomba’s main intersection, zoomed in on everyday passers-by, capturing live interactions in a public space and subsequently projecting them on the big screen building backdrop. Friends, tourists, movie-goers, car drivers alike were intrigued by the spectacle at the corner of Ruthven and Margaret Streets on Friday and Saturday nights and stopped to interact and discuss, some even playing with the technology to create their own oversized ‘selfies’. “We managed to create a contemporary urban play space in a normally life-less intersection. The corner ice-creamery became a great vantage point, a gallery to view the interaction between the flash-mob street theatre, the spontaneous audience participation and the projected images,” said artist and project coordinator Tarn McLean of Raygun Gallery. “It was a real buzz to witness so many conversations happening between stangers and often hilarious interactions between passersby and artists on the street. Our aim to create lively connection was achieved ten-fold.” On Sunday 24 August intrigued locals came to the corner of Jellicoe and Waverley Streets to view the transformation of an eyesore into a bushland art park.
Through regeneration and artisan activity, and collaboration with Landscape Architect students from QUT, a blueprint for future development was presented to the attendees and received resounding support. “We had a vision to show people the beauty of this natural waterway from a viewing platform and a found object art trail.” says Project Coordinator Andrew MacDonald. “Many people who attended our event day have expressed surprise and amazement that Gowrie Creek is so beautiful, and has such potential. “Initially we had offers of help from the surrounding neighbours and gardening enthusiasts to revegetate and beautify this overgrown section and they are now enjoying using the seating for reading or the banks for sunset picnics, which is exactly what we wanted.”
Biograffiti has given a vibrant and colourful face-lift to an alleyway in Toowoomba’s CBD between Annand and Ruthven Streets. A top notch crew of nationally renowned street artists – Gimiks Born, Beastman, Numskull, Phibs and Toowoomba’s own Twolaks, worked seamlessly to execute the metro mural over two days 24 and 25 August. Pedestrians in transit were transfixed by the unfolding artwork and visitors to the site witnessed the final stages at a burgers and beats afternoon hosted by local eatery, Phat Burgers. “We collected stories from local kids, and interpreted them in our individual styles” says Project Coordinator Ian McCullum, co-owner of Kontraband. “All over the world graffiti artworks act as a magnet for tourism and bringing a quality crew here to share their skills has put Toowoomba on the street art map.”
Whalesong: Dream it, Make it, Play it! Three unique musical instruments made their debut on August 24 at Seafront Oval to hundreds of Hervey Bay residents as part of Animating Spaces Whalesong: Play It and the Whaleaid Concert. The supersized sculptural works were created by artists Simon Mackie and Glenn Christie and were inspired by children’s concepts and drawings in response to a Whalesong Dream It workshop exploring the question:” What sounds and messages could we send to creatures in the sea?” To Project Coordinator Trevor Franklin they are fondly known as Sebastian the Seahorse, Stella the Starfish and the Angelica the Jellyfish. An original musical score was composed by QUT Creative Industries co-artist James Halloran and performed by local percussionists. The performance was accompanied by choral groups from the Fraser Coast. Dynamic digital projections by photographer Christine Hunter and QUT video student Jessica Smith onto a large inflatable screen added impact to the evening performance. The instruments will reside in different venues on the Fraser Coast over the next few months and community members are encouraged to try their hand at playing them.
Animating Spaces â€“ Eudlo Dreaming magically awoke the usually sleepy chalet of Eudlo on the evening of the 7th of September 2013
As the sun set, a throng of over 1000 people gathered underneath a monumental ghost gum to witness three creative dreams became reality in a promenade performance celebrating indigenous culture, contemporary classical composition, projection art, street art, community dance and cultural heritage, natural and man-made spaces. “Eudlo was absolutely transformed. It is amazing how a road closure for a performance encouraged people to take ownership of the whole town in such a joyful and creative way,” says Ant McKenna, Senior Development Officer (Creative), Sunshine Coast Regional Council. “Credit must be given to Amy Martin and Eudlo Cultural Collective for their vision and their combined persistence to make this event a huge success.” “Animating Spaces provided an amazing opportunity for Eudlo and wider hinterland community to showcase its collective artistic talent,” says Amy Martin, community coordinator Eudlo Dreaming and president of Eudlo Creative Collective. “It meant we were able to engage professional and emerging artists to inspire the locals to create quality public art pieces and a world-class performance in the heart of Eudlo.”
As dusk descended, the crowd was welcomed to country in a mesmerising fire ceremony by Lyndon Davis on behalf of the Gubbi Gubbi, heralding the evening’s proceedings. Dusk Mantra, featuring a children’s and community choir of over one hundred voices and an ensemble of digeridoo, cello,percussion and flute, held the audience spell-bound a musical performance where sounds of nature at dusk echoed throughout the valley.
Eudlo heART Skatepark, a contemporary street art project engaging professional and aspiring artists, created an art piece in the heart of Eudlo and forged a new collective of young artists already creating ongoing commissions and works for sale. “Dusk Mantra, an extraordinary Australian composition by Ross Edwards and Sarah Hopkins, was everything we imagined and more. For me, dusk at Eudlo has never been more magical, earthy and meaningful,” says project coordinator and cellist Louise King. “The majestic tree was centrepiece to the performance project animated incredibly by a community singing and playing for peace, renewal and hope.” Lightscape, a collaboration between choreographer Linley Boyle and photographer Bonnie Jenkins, transformed the much loved skate park into a stage when 50 children from locals schools cloaked in white, became a moving canvas of fluid movement for projected images, and brought the images to life using the highs and lows of the bowl to imitate the hills and valleys of local landscape. “The young dancers were so wonderful the way they wove the elements so familiar to us - fresh water eel, mist settling in the valley, the movement of treetops catching a breeze – into movements that evoked the spirit of Eudlo,” says project coordinator and movement artist Linley Boyle. The skate bowl became a mini amphitheatre mimicking the local topography. Stunning images from local photographer Bonnie Jenkins capturing the qualities of water and the forest, were projected on to our miniature moving canvases. We hope Lightscape inspires many more performance in this space in the future.”
“The creation of the mural at the Eudlo Skatepark was designed for young artists to gain a sense of ownership and pride in their community while building technical skills and confidence,” says project coordinator Maya Carter-Malins, owner of the Rosebed St Gallery. “The community gained intricate and intriguing contemporary public art in the heart of the town that revitalizes our skate park, and redefines Eudlo from being a sleepy hollow to a vibrant contemporary arts hub.” A final word from David Houghton artist who worked on Eudlo heART Skatepark:, “I feel very privileged to have worked closely on the mural with Maya Carter-Malins and Mad Betty. Big thanks to those who worked hard on the project: the artists and youth that showed their greatness, Artslink Queensland, Ant McKenna, Amy Martin… it is a great project to have been a part of.”
Letters Around the Towers Extravaganza The Letters Around The Towers Extravaganza animated the Golden Mile of Charters Towers on Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 September 2013 with an explosion of light, colour, sound, installation and movement
Integral to the Charter’s Towers Cultural and Heritage Festival 2013, LATTE brought into sharp focus the richness of the past, present and future of the Towers through digital projection, sculpture and performance Staged during sundown over two evenings, this extravaganza impressed participant and spectator alike through a creative display of ghostly figures, light shows and moving memories. “We invited the community of Charters Towers to get involved, be inspired, make Art, enrich the culture of the Worlde and join the party! We received donations stories, images, old metal, bric-a-brac, life experiences, memories, graffiti art and memoriabilia with letters on it,” says Community Coordinator, Allan Georgee, President of Towers Players. LATTE Sculpture saw renowned Townsville artist Sue Tilly work with hundreds of local children and adults willing to offer up body parts to create ghostly body sculptures made of sticky tape that haunted footpaths all along Gill St on the Saturday night to the intrigue of an audience of well over 300. The grand finale on Sunday night in the iconic Stock Exchange delighted the 200 strong crowd when a spectral sculpture of a fire engine red flying fox was revealed in a blaze of smoke and light, highlighting a recent controversy that has animated townspeople more than virtually any other in this generation
The history and development of the region was represented by the vintage metal objects within the piece, in particular those with brands or text on them, donated by local folk along with their stories. Like the bats that were “relocated” to a new home, the public artwork’s final resting place is yet to be determined. “My hope is that the sculpture will become a landmark for locals and tourists alike. It’s bright colour and familiar shape will attract the viewers and prompt them to think about this ‘hot topic’ in a different way. Some people will not love it, but they will talk about it!” says artist Sue Tilley. LATTE Projections cast a light onto significant buildings in the main street of Charters Towers. Contemporary and historic images generated by local artist Karen Tenni, provided a vivid backdrop to a promenade performance and street party to celebrate The Worlde. The historic building facades all along Gill St including Excelsior Library, Wherry House (Ex-Olympia Theatre), the Post Office and various alleys were illuminated with a site specific digital art exhibition, including a live feed of the LATTE Facebook page, to enable audience to contribute their words. “We chose the broad brush stroke theme of ‘Letters’ to reflect what is and has been important to us,” says Tenni. “Mining, education, cattle, family, hot news topics, wise words, song lyrics and poetry were collected and to spell out in large static and moving images what Charters Towers means to us.”
LATTE Performance gave rise to Gill St coming alive after dark on the first the Saturday night, enlivening a street that is usually deserted after business hours. Music and dance performances popped up along the promenade to invoke the past spirit of each place including: a brass band on the balcony of the Excelsior Library celebrating its past as a pub; a re-enactment of protesters being arrested outside the Police Station; orators crying out the headlines from the past 200 years of the Northern Miner; and a live graffiti display inscribing the next generation’s place in the pages of Charters Towers history. “When we say ‘extravaganza’ that’s what it was,” says Cairns artistic director Susan Prince. “We put on great show with a lively Saturday Night street party of art happenings and a Sunday sunset market or art works. It was such a thrill to see so many locals and visitors turn out to enjoy the spectacle and rich cultural heritage of the Towers in a new light.”
Artslink Queensland has announced the five towns that will take up the challenge in 2014 - Yeppoon, Roma, Samford, Cooktown and Gladstone. Projects will begin in February with events taking place between July and September. If you want to find out more about Animaint Spaces, the communities, applications or view the digital stories, visit artslinkqld.com.au/animatingspaces This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its funding and advisory body, Regional Arts Australia, Arts Queensland and the participating local councils.
Artslink Queensland, formerly the Queensland Arts Council, is a nonprofit organisation that delivers a variety of programs and services that connect the people of this state through vibrant, creative and collaborative arts and culture activity to support regional economic viability, civic engagement, social equity and cultural vitality for Queensland communities. With over 50 years experience developing and delivering arts activity to regional and remote Queensland, the Regional Arts Australia network and our local networks through 50 Local Arts Councils and 350 Associate Member Arts Organisations, Artslink Queensland is the vital link for every community to inspire the arts in Queensland. For more information, visit www.artslinkqld.com.au.
Published on Dec 12, 2013
Published on Dec 12, 2013
Animating Spaces is an innovative, three-year state-wide multi-arts project that will revitalise and celebrate significant or unusual spaces...