Are you interested in an ‘Art Trail’ of some kind for this region?
There is enthusiasm from independent arts practitioners and community organisations to explore the idea of:
1. expanding the existing Blackwood River Art Trail further
2. creating a seperate trail altogether
In either case, the discussion is not intended to compete with any existing activities, but to use collaboration to create new opportunities.
We’re looking for insights and feedback on possibilities. Anyone is welcome to contribute. You can respond directly to this blog post or send us an email at email@example.com or call 0418 754 704.
At the SF&V art hub ‘Winter Warmer event held in Bridgetown in July a group of about 15 people began some preliminary discussion into this idea. Several people gave themselves homework to research different topics that may (or may not) contribute to a future trail.
At the meeting there was consensus on the following:
- A trail would need to find its point of difference, to be seen as distinct from existing neighbouring trails (such as the Margaret River Region Open Studios and the ArtSouth Trail).
- Timing is critical – it needs to fit in an around existing events in the region and arts trails across the state
- Effective marketing was vital, it would need to be well resourced
- There is considerable interest in a multi-arts experience that would see a coordinated sequence of activities across multiple towns.
The following points were raised:
Different towns could contribute activities from different disciplines (corresponding to their strengths) so that across the region there was a full sweep of arts activity, but this multi-arts approach need not be replicated within each town.
There could be creative clusters – pockets of activity – across the region
Interactive activities were considered a great way to get people engaged and draw them from one activity (or venue, or town) to another
A trail could be a ‘fringe’ value-add to an existing event, eg have the trail follow or coincide with a major event in the region, such as the Nannup Music Festival, Blues festival or Country Music Festival as a means of attracting visitors to say longer in the region.
Have a curated theme that unites all activities along the trail so that there is greater cohesion across the region
We could experiment with an entry fee for visitors, much like a registration fee for a festival, one that covers the whole program, or is just for specific activities
INTEGRATING WITH THE BLACKWOOD RIVER ART TRAIL
Miranda Free is coordinating next year’s 2022 Blackwood River Art Trail (which takes in the towns of Nannup, Bridgetown and Greenbushes) and is part of this conversation.
Miranda advises that the BRAT (Blackwood River Art Trail) is now an incorporated organisation. They are keen to find members for the new organisation and members for the committee.
They’re particularly keen to hear from anyone in Boyup Brook that would like to participate in next year’s event. They’re also open to the suggestion of expanding the trail to other towns as long as people from those towns are prepared to be active contributors to the planning and management of the broader event. If you’d like to get involved please contact:
RESEARCH & SUGGESTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
The following info has been provided by people from across the region who’ve researched/envsaged an aspect of the trail that interests them. Please respect the IP of these ideas (we have recorded them here as a public register of their origin and the spirit of generosity in which they are shared).
SOME ALTERNATIVES TO AN ‘ART TRAIL’
These ideas for a ‘trail that is not a traditional trail’ were offered by Christine Latham from Bridgetown:
A series of town collaborations using the same theme and resulting in one installation in each town/region/Shire.
This could be (but doesn’t have to be) as simple as a decorated geometric shape, all the shapes being the same for one town, but different to each other; decorated in any art style, then constructed in a similar manner.“ART TAKES SHAPE” rather than the title of Art Trail.
So the advertising would be for people to follow the shape story through each locality to discover the different interpretations of the theme. (In effect, a Trail, but not titled as such). Or it could even be Indigenous flora where one town decorates a Blue Leschenaultia shape for example, then they could be fixed together to represent a whole patch of Leschenaultia, edges combined to create a 3D shape. However the danger here may be that this could overlap with or just be more of, all the flower festival ideas that already exist. Or different birds from each locality. One bird each, typical to that area. Or An Indigenous theme such as the six Noongar seasons. This would limit things to six localities however, where each locality took a season each and collaborated to create a 3D installation piece. Lots of places have already depicted this as well or an Indigenous theme depicting the original name of your town, region, area, but still resulting in one artwork per town.
The installation would NOT need to made of sturdy materials, but it could be. Part of the approach could be to create something ephemeral. Advertising would emphasise the urgency to visit before it disappeared. I think there would need to be an agreement on materials and final installation shape or shapes, so that there are some shared elements in each installation.
All this, including the theme would need to be nutted out and agreed upon by all concerned in a situation similar to yesterday. Once the basic foundation ideas etc were in place, each locality could return to work together in their separate locality. It would be amazing for EVERYONE to work on each other’s ‘section’ in a place like the Rabbit Hole, but it may not be feasible.
My experiences of collaborative work is that often, initially, people resist it, but once involved, later express it to be one of the most fulfilling experiences.
Anna Czerkasow from Pemberton Arts Group suggests that there are things we can do to support movement between towns from one art activity to another that support each other’s communities events. It would be a way running an event such as a festival – to invite art producers or performers to their event (and noting that often multiple events are held at the same times around the regions, which could stretch volunteer contribution).
Thanks to Suzie Fellowes (From Pemberton) for looking into the costs and complication of developing an app to promote and navigate an art trail. It could mean that audiences book ahead for workshops and studio times freeing up artists and organisers.
Option #1: She found that it would cost between $20K – $50K to have someone develop and write an app. Generally companies outsource to an appropriate qualified person in another country to save costs on developing it within Australia.
Option #2: It’s a lot cheaper to source and purchase an app ‘Off the shelf’ app, paying for a service to add logos and “skins” (the right look) Including a “Hosted Web Service” providing website functionality.
IDEAS FOR UNIQUE ACTIVITIES
Thanks to Jenny Mountford for suggesting these ideas:
Idea Number 1 : Progressive Art “Feast”
Harking back to the days of the popular Progressive Dinners (showing my age!) this concept sets out an art exhibition event for the region including all the towns, where patrons can indulge in an entire “meal” of art or selected “courses”.
The artworks for the event would need to reflect the essence of one of 5 “courses” of a feast: Appetiser, Entree, Main Course, Dessert and Cheese.The artworks would interpret how the selected course might look, feel and taste and/or refer to the size and/or the relevance to the overall “meal”. For eg: tiny “morsels” of artworks with strong design elements could represent the Appetiser course. “Main Course” works could be large and bold, dominant but with reduced colour palette – you get my drift. The event could feature all arts genres – 3D, textiles, photography etc.
There could even be “Art Food” that complements each exhibition prepared by local food artisans and local wines could also feature. Jenny also envisaged each “course” would be housed in one separate venue in each town. It would be a pre-paid event and people would book and pay for the “courses” they wish to attend. All “courses” could be available in each town in the region or a selection of courses in each town. Patrons could book an entire Feast that goes over 2-3 days and may include more than one town. The event could be repeated over 3 or 4 “sittings” on different weekends.
I think this would be an interesting challenge for artists, could also highlight the food and wine of each town and would be a unique offering to people seeking out new art and weekend experiences. It also allows for money to be raised for each town’s local arts community as well as sales for individual artists.
Idea Number 2: Tour de Tiny Art
Whilst this idea is somewhat like an Art Trail, it’s given a new twist.
All artworks (again all genres could be included) must fit into the parameters laid out to be small scale. Tiny Art would give scope for different venues to be utilised to exhibit the work (which I am suggesting would once again be done via group exhibitions in single venues) rather than artists’ own studios.
Each town would have their own exhibition of the tiny works and patrons could travel between these towns over the course of 2-3 days to see the whole offering. It could run over 2-3 weeks to allow for maximum attendance numbers. An overarching theme for the works could be chosen but this wouldn’t be necessary.
Tiny art is a challenge for artists both painters and drawers as well as sculptors, textile artists and potters etc. Not only would it make for an interesting series of exhibitions it would also make the art more affordable and hopefully lead to more sales. Patrons could potentially buy several pieces of work from various locations making everyone pretty happy!
The “Tiny” idea would be a marketing dream and produce a catchy campaign that would attract a lot of attention. A definite point of difference from what else is on offer.
the whole region to create a larger event that would attract more attention and potentially more funding. Several people had homework to complete by August 9th to progress the discuss further. I’ve had a chat with Miranda Free (from Nannup) who is currently coordinating the 2022 Blackwood Art Trail (which takes in the towns of Nannup, Bridgetown and Greenbushes). The Art Trail is now an incorporated organisation. Miranda is keen to find members for the new organisation and members for the committee. They’re keen to hear from anyone in Boyup Brook that would like to participate in next year’s event. They’re also open to the suggestion of expanding the trail to other towns as long as people from those towns are prepared to be active contributors to the planning and management of the broader event. If you’d like to get involved please contact Miranda Free:?
AIRING OF THE QUILTS
This idea has been shared by Helen Brown of Bridgetown.
As a quilter for 35 years now and in the past having worked and taught in shops and at TAFE. Helen has come up with an idea for a massive “Airing of the Quilts” (a little like the one held in Northampton every year). Jenny Mountford is keen to have the Rabbit Hole involved. I had a chat to Anne who owns the patchwork shop here in Bridgetown and she said that an exhibition was held in the town hall a few years ago and that those organisers were older now and wouldn’t want to be involved, probably. But I was thinking a bit bigger than that and having the town involved…….
SOMETHING FOR THE FELLAS
One of the challenges of art trails in general is how to engage men. ‘Blokes’ are traditionally less interested. Helen suggests a parallel activity to the quilts, something along the lines of a vintage car display.
CHALLENGES, OBSTACLES AND OTHER CONCERNING QUESTIONS
It was easy to come up with some concerns around this idea. Here are some already flagged:
- How do we generate income to cover marketing, insurance, admin and other costs?
- How can we keep entry fees low for participating artists?
- Can we find bulk insurance packages to reduce costs for artists/venues?
- How do we deal with the weather if outdoor activities are planned, or even just for driving between venues, towns.
- Can we find low-cost and no-cost marketing alternatives?
- How will we find the volunteers needed to drive this?
- Can we find funds to pay a coordinator?
- How can we encourage local businesses to get involved?
- What sort of infrastructure do we need?
- How do we overcome a lack of interest in the Arts from local, state and federal government?
- Is the vision too big?
- Who’s going to write the funding applications?
- Organisations don’t support each others events, how can we change that?
- What’s the ‘right’ amount of time to run the trail? Four weeks? Four months?
- What’s our ideal target audience?
- How do we improve the quality of trail maps so they are clearer to read and more inviting?
- If it’s a collaborative event, who’s in charge? Who’s responsible?
THANKS FOR SUPPORTING ARTISTIC AND CULTURAL VITALITY IN THE SOUTHERN FORESTS AND VALLEYS REGION