• regional

24 November 2017

A first look at the plans for Victoria’s first Regional Centre for Culture reveals an unprecedented showcase of local creativity set for four municipalities in central Victoria in 2018.

Image of creatives with dog and text "Wonder"

Officially kicking off on Valentine’s Day with Love Letters to the Heart of Victoria, a big public event in Bendigo's Rosalind Park, the year-long celebration of culture in all its forms will offer plenty to get hearts pumping and communities involved.

From circus in a public swimming pool and surprise performances in farmers markets to an art installation at a flour mill and an all-singing town hall crawl, everyday places will be transformed through music, dance, projections, art, festivals, podcasts and more.

Grants totaling more than $500,000 were announced for 36 new projects by local artists and groups that will be presented across the region in 2018.

Designed to highlight the diversity and creativity of the region and attract tourism, the supported projects will form the backbone of the Regional Centre for Culture program providing employment opportunities and a wealth of cultural experiences for locals and visitors alike.

In addition to the grants, two leading Victorian creative teams have been awarded $260,000 to create high-impact new outdoor performance works in Bendigo that will employ local artists and be significant drawcards.

Hailing from Natimuk in the state’s west, ACT Natimuk – known for transforming their small town silos into giant creative spectacles – will work with local artists, community groups and organisations on an event combining aerial circus, projections and music, to be centred on Bendigo’s iconic Poppet Head in Rosalind Park.

Clunes-based creative duo Rebecca Russell and Ken Evans will work with a range of artists, musicians and performers to create an outdoor performance based in, and around, a real-life building that is slated for demolition. Audiences will see a story unfold as the structure is gradually demolished.

In addition to the grants, a range of much-loved local events – from Tretham’s Spudfest to the Tiny Towns Trail ­– will receive a boost to extend their activities in 2018.

An initiative of the Victorian Government, the inaugural Regional Centre for Culture is being delivered in partnership with the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, the City of Greater Bendigo and Mount Alexander, Central Goldfields and Hepburn shires.

Details of the supported commissions and projects below.


Andrew Bleby and Associates Pty Ltd on behalf of RUSSELL:EVANS, $260,000
Clunes-based creative team Ken Evans and Rebecca Russell will work with musicians, dancers, physical theatre, video and sound artists and the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans to create a large-scale outdoor performance in Bendigo that will centre on a structure that is in the process of demolition. Ken and Rebecca have a wealth of experience creating large-scale performance works that explore history and entertain. The performance will be spread across several nights as the structure is progressively demolished.

ACT Natimuk, $260,000
The team from Natimuk will work with a broad range of community groups from Bendigo over a ten-month period to create a new aerial performance and projection event centred on the iconic poppet head structure in Rosalind Park. The creative event will capture and express the stories of Bendigo and its people. Bendigo-based community groups and organisations already confirmed to participate include the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans, the Golden Dragon Museum, Bendigo Historical Society and CreateAbility.

Suburbs listed indicates where the recipient is based, project outcomes span the Regional Centre for Culture region.

Natasha Anderson, STRATHFIELDSAYE, $9,000
To create the film, text and lighting design elements that will become part of a new 30-minute multimedia music performance.

Anglican Parish of Springmount , CRESWICK: $5,000
For The Four Seasons Fine Music Festival, a series of weekend fine music concerts held over four weeks, to acknowledge and celebrate seasons in central Victoria. Performances will feature the historical pipe organs at the Anglican churches of St. John's Creswick and St. Paul's Clunes.

Arnold Street Gallery, NORTH BENDIGO: $11,450
Arnold Street Gallery will offer bursaries to support the presentation of three projects: a street art mural, a photographic exhibition curated by a local emerging curator and a group exhibition of work by local artists with a disability.

Bike Bendigo Incorporated, BENDIGO: $7,750
To create a new walking/cycling trail between Latrobe University and the Bendigo city centre that will have creativity at its core. Bendigo mural and street artists will create murals on three recently developed underpasses and Bike Bendigo will organise a suite of community programs and events such as community bike rides and a bike film festival to promote the trail and the artists involved in its creation.

Bendigo Symphony Orchestra, BENDIGO: $11,600
The Bendigo Symphony Orchestra will undertake a tour that will take them to Elmore and Heathcote and will conclude with a performance at St Paul's in Bendigo. In addition to a classical concerto and symphony, the tour will feature a new work written for the orchestra by local musician and composer David Chisholm.

Robert Brassington, WEST BENDIGO: $15,000
Thirty local circus artists from Bendigo will create aerial works around the theme of identity that will go on show at the Bendigo Stadium. Each performer will also offer a free workshop to the public.

Jen Bray, DAYLESFORD: $20,000
To local musicians and theatre, dance and circus artists together with local young people in Daylesford, Clunes and Castlemaine to create a new theatre work that explores themes of gender identification, ethnicity, body image, passions and personal uniqueness. The show will have its world premiere in Daylesford.

Castlemaine Clay Co-operative, CASTLEMAINE: $3,500
Throughout 2018 Castlemaine Clay will host a series of talks and workshops by ceramicists from the local region.

Katrina Douglas, TRENTHAM: $13,600
For Seed Cinema, a year-long project for children aged 6 to 12 years across the Hepburn Shire to learn the art of filmmaking. Participants will create an original short film that will premiere at a free outdoor public screening in November 2018.

Lisa D’Onofrio, CASTLEMAINE: $13,408To work within local prisons to capture the stories of inmates through their letters. Selected letters will become the basis of a new performance featuring local actors that will be performed in Castlemaine and Maryborough and recorded for future broadcast on Main FM and online via the website of arts and culture magazine Trouble.

Dunolly Historic Precinct, DUNOLLY: $3,000
For an exhibition of photographs by photographer Darron Davies that tell the story of the goldfields and the local historic diggings sites that were once home to thousands of miners. The photographs are part of a project Darron has been working on over the past five years and will go on show at the Old Court House in Dunolly.

Dunolly Theatre Company, DUNOLLY: $2,000
To host a music festival over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in 2018.

Ann Ferguson, CASTLEMAINE: $14,650
For an art-making project for children and their families in Maryborough. Ann will lead sessions which will see children creating their own unique little clay houses. Artworks created during the project will go on to form a 'community' of tiny houses that will go on public display.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Christy Flaws, CLUNES: $20,000
The rehearsal and premiere presentation of The Bottle Collector, a new circus/physical theatre work for families in Clunes.

Tara Gilbee, CASTLEMAINE: $4,275
To create a series of photographic artworks that document the Old Castlemaine Goal. Tara will also use the former guard towers as studios and exhibition spaces for her work.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Eliza-Jane Gilchrist, CAMPBELLS CREEK: $28,830
Visual arts and theatre company Such as They Are will work in residence at the 1873 Mortuary Chapel at the Bendigo Cemetery to create a new work that combines sculpture, music and puppetry to tell the stories of the people interred at the site. The company will also hold community workshops where members of the public can share their stories and participate in creating the sculptures that will be used in the performance.

Greater Bendigo City Council, EAGLEHAWK: $9,000
Mark Brandi, author of Wimmera, will spend two weeks as writer in residence, based in the historic library at Eaglehawk, as a part of the Bendigo Writers Festival.  During his time, there he will hold writing workshops, working with up to five participants, focussing on the history and landscape of the haunting Whipstick forest.

Lot 19 artspace, CASTLEMAINE: $21,350
In collaboration with the Dja Dja Wurrung Clan, the Victorian Aboriginal Weaving Collective and Durrmu Arts Aboriginal Corporation, Lot 19 artspace in Castlemaine will invite members from Aboriginal communities across Victoria to work in residence on site and learn from weavers from the Peppimenarti community of the Northern Territory. The residency period will culminate in a two-week exhibition showcasing the work that is created.

Maldon Neighbourhood Centre, MALDON: $14,100
Community members will be invited to workshops at the neighbourhood centre to learn about the flora and fauna of the Maldon area and to create a series of sculptures that celebrate local species. Master basket weaver, Aunty Marilyne Nicholls, will also run a series of workshops and guide the development of baskets made using local materials that will go on to form an exhibition.

Kate McInnes, BENDIGO: $15,435
Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services will work with community artist Rose Turtle Ertler to create a performance by five local refugees and one refugee advocate for the Bendigo Festival of Cultures. Performed in a tunnel under a railway line in Bendigo, Light At The End… will focus on tales of moments of ‘light’ and ‘strength' in the performers’ lives.

Kirsten McKay, BENDIGO: $8,607
For Carisbrook artist, Michael Grant, to produce a body of artwork reflecting Bendigo’s historic links to the Second World War. At ten locations within the Bendigo area, Michael will produce artworks highlighting the contribution that the people of Bendigo made to the broader war effort. The works will form an exhibition that will share these stories with current generations.

Ministry of Fun, DUNOLLY: $29,310
To create a new public artwork for Dunolly by renowned artist Deborah Halpern. Deborah will work with local artists, community members and school children to create the work that will be inspired by the story and history of the town, by the town's original name Lia Kurri Barr which means 'Creek where Eastern grey kangaroo eats'.

Auspicious Arts Projects on behalf of Dan Mitchell, VAUGHAN: $30,000
For the development and presentation a theatre work that will reimagine Italo Calvino's novel Baron in the Tree, which follows the story of a boy who leaves his home and lives in the trees. This unique theatre work will be performed in the trees in the surrounds of the Vaughan Springs Parklands, within the Goldfields Diggings National Park, Mt Alexander Shire.

Janice Muller, NEWSTEAD: $28,002
A walking tour in the town of Newstead for families and children aged 6+ that is inspired by the Hansel and Gretel story. Following a map, participants will walk through town in small groups, stopping at six key locations along their journey, where they will encounter an installation or performance across music, film, audio, visual art, performance or dance.

Jodi Newcombe trading as Carbon Arts, CASTLEMAINE: $6,950For a workshop and exhibition project in Castlemaine that will invite regional artists to develop concepts for public artworks that will generate renewable energy.

Catherine Pilgrim, CASTLEMAINE: $8,500
To create an exhibition at Dudley House in Bendigo that brings to life the story of Maggie Larrit the largely forgotten first occupant of the house and her surveyor husband Richard Larrit who lived in the house in the late 1850s. In addition, a drawing workshop and an artist talk related to the project will be held.

Punctum, CASTLEMAINE: $30,000
To create a new, mobile creative space, modelled on the bath houses of old, that explores our affinity with water and the way different cultures treat this precious resource.

Maryborough Midlands Historical Society, MARYBOROUGH: $9,606
The Maryborough Midlands Historical Society holds a unique collection of wedding photographs by local photographer Wal Richards. Over five decades, Wal documented virtually every wedding within the Maryborough district. The Historical Society will digitise this collection and create an exhibition of the photographs that will go on show at the Central Goldfields Art Gallery.

The Village Festival of New Performance, FRYERSTOWN: $23,000
As part of the 2018 Village Winter Festival in Castlemaine, a major large-scale performance event that will take over the Newstead Racecourse and will bring together pyrotechnics, archery, sculpture and music, along with two of Castlemaine's other great loves, hot rod cars and machinery.

Amie Sexton, CRESWICK: $3,589
For a sound installation that tells the stories of eight elderly people in Creswick and recounts their memories of evenings in their twenties.

Star Community Cinema Association, EAGLEHAWK: $20,600
For Australia on Screen, a year-long festival of monthly screenings at Bendigo's The Star Cinema that will concentrate on films located in regional Victoria.

Trentham Neighbourhood Centre, TRENTHAM: $10,796
For a series of community workshops led by professional artists that will see the community create three new ceramic-based public artworks that will enhance the Trentham streetscape and the façade of the Trentham Neighbourhood Centre.

Rachael Wenona Guy, CASTLEMAINE: $18,000
To work with community members to create an immersive installation of photographs, video, poetry, audio and stop-motion animation that will take over an empty house.

Golden City Support Services Inc on behalf of John Willis, BENDIGO: $30,000
Support for Bendigo's CreateAbility a company of artists with a range of abilities to create Dendron, a new work that explores our relationship with forests and nature. The project will include guided walks, art workshops and talks for members of the public as well as performances at Ulumbarra Theatre.

Words In Winter, DAYLESFORD: $9,999
For Words in Winter a multi-artform festival celebrating words, stories and ideas in all their forms. Participating towns include Daylesford, Trentham, Clunes, Creswick, Newstead, and Maryborough.

XtremeInc Youth Projects, CASTLEMAINE: $15,820
For a visual arts project that will bring local contemporary artists together with young people from the region to create a series of murals. The behind the scenes process will be captured through photography and through a short film and the project will culminate in a public event and exhibition.