I’m going to type very fast here as the opening of the 2014 Regional Arts Australia Summit is almost a real thing. It’s been made almost real by the many inspirational, talented and creative folks I have been working with for the past 2 years in my role as Artistic Director. And it will also be made real by all those who join in the action – sharing their perspectives, asking challenging questions or trying something out for the first time. That’s one of the things they don’t tell you about working in community arts: how often you find yourself creating, experimenting and learning – with an audience watching on. There’s no hiding from yourself when it’s your job to inspire others. You have to dive in, and do it with such fearlessness you know everyone else will follow.
So I’m really proud I’m part of an event that recognises, celebrates and encourages that kind of creative fearlessness. It’s something professional artists face every time they put a price tag on a finished piece. But it’s also something we all face when we’re creating – having the courage to try, to risk failure, in the pursuit of what feels right and true for us, or for our projects.
For those coming to the Summit, we’ve worked very hard to create a program that truly captures the experiences, challenges and rewards of life as a community arts worker. We get you, and we hope you will get right into the swing of things and take a few risks. You’ll definitely be among friends! The other thing I wanted to mention just quickly is how excited I’m that so many of you will be experiencing Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s landscape, heritage and culture for the first time. It’s no surprise to me now that so many artists live here. Whatever your medium or message, this landscape is open to endless interpretations.
In the spirit of sharing, here is some of the artwork I have produced (in collaboration with Kate Fielding, Dhona Shintaningrum and Linda Marlina) in my time in Kalgoorlie-Boulder. And for those who are wondering, no, I cannot imagine leaving this landscape any time soon. These images will help explain why.
Photos by Dhona Shintaningrum, Kate Fielding and Ben Fox.