Monday, 12 September 2016

Western Riverina Arts presents Constance on the Edge!

Western Riverina Arts presents: Constance on the Edge - an unflinchingly honest portrayal of one refugee family’s resettlement story in Australia.
"In Africa I was fighting for survival; In the refugee camps I was fighting
for human rights, and here in Australia, I am fighting for belonging."
- Constance

One family. Two wars. Three countries. What does it take to forge a new life far from home?
Walk in the shoes of a Sudanese refugee as her resilience is tested to the limit striving for a settled life in rural Wagga Wagga, NSW. Constance on the Edge tells the story of feisty and charismatic Constance, a mother of six leading her family away from their painful past in war torn Sudan and years spent in border camps before making the regional NSW town their new home and risking everything in Australia so her family can thrive.

Constance and her family are facing serious challenges – discrimination, disappointments, run-ins with the law and the resurgence of post-traumatic stress symptoms. Mary, Constance’s niece, finds it impossible to find a job in Wagga; Vicky, her daughter, studies every morning from 4am, hoping to get into university and Charles, 23, is struggling with alienation and depression.

Director and Human Rights Award Winner Belinda Mason wanted to put refugee issues at the forefront of people’s minds. "Refugees are strengthening our communities across the country. I envision Constance on the Edge as contributing to the national conversation around refugees by highlighting the complex issues and experiences they face in Australia. What we gain as a nation by creating more welcoming communities for refugees is at the heart of this story."

Nominated as a Finalist for the 2016 Sydney Film Festival for the Documentary Australia Foundation Award in the category Australian Documentary, Constance on the Edge gets to the heart of a contemporary untold story about the courage and resilience it takes to build new lives.

Western Riverina Arts Executive Officer Derek Motion is excited to be able to bring the movie to theatres in Leeton and Griffith. "In light of the current global refugee crisis this topic seams more important than ever and to raise awareness and acceptance with a story right from our region is great. It also presents a fantastic opportunity to have the Director and Constance talk about the creative process and outcomes of the film."

Filmed over 10 years Constance on the Edge is a longitudinal study of one refugee family’s struggle to forge a new life in Australia and the important role communities play in encouraging a sense of belonging for everyone.

Presented by Western Riverina Arts Constance on the Edge will be coming to movie theaters in Leeton and Griffith 24 & 25 September. The 80 minute film will be followed by a Q&A with Director Belinda Mason and Constance. We would love to see you there!

24 September 2 pm Roxy Community Theatre Leeton
25 September 2.30 pm Griffith City Cinema Griffith

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Regional Landscapes and People Celebrated at the Powerhouse Museum

The Cad Factory has just returned from presenting an artwork called Shadow Places at the Powerhouse Museum for Sydney Design Festival, from 2 - 11 September. 

Shadow Places consists of six round straw bales, with video projections onto the front of the bales with sound telling the story of local design. Alongside the straw bales are three large textile hangings linking the hay bales and video content.

The project has been devised by The Cad Factory’s Vic McEwan, and includes collaborations with the National Museum of Australia’s George Main and Sydney artist Nicole Barakat, who led textile workshops with local makers Caroline Applebee, Maxi Bohl, Julie Briggs, Kathleen Foster, Robyn Gown, Marilyn Manning, Holly McEwan, Sarah McEwan, Josie Middleton, Julie Montgarrett, Natalie Power, Lindee Russell and Joyce Spencer.

Local farmers, John and Kathleen Foster, Jan and Garth Strong and Graham and Amanda Strong have been included in the projection work, along with Colin Seis from the Gulgong district, in the central tablelands of NSW.

Voice over for the projection work was done by Boree Creek resident, Steve Harradine.

The artwork was presented as part of the Sydney Design Festival and celebrated the way farmers design and modify equipment, systems and processes in order to adapt and devise new practices.

The term ‘Shadow Places’ comes from the writings of eminent Australian philosopher Val Plumwood, who talked about the notion that our place in the world is supported by what she calls ‘Shadow Places’, referring to the places that we rely upon but don’t know. For example, urban people are intimately tied to area’s like the Riverina, for their food and fibre production, however, there is little opportunity for these people to get to know the land and communities that they rely upon.

Vic McEwan said, “It is a very important step to present a work like this as part of Sydney Design Festival. We are showcasing the idea that design doesn’t just happen in our capital cities, that in fact, user-led design is happing all over our regional areas. This has a big effect on people back in the cities, through improvements in production of food and fibre and also in the development of new types of more ecologically driven agricultural practices.”

The Powerhouse Museum estimate that 20,000 people saw this artwork in just 11 days. The inclusion of Shadow Places in such a high profile city institution has been a fabulous opportunity to share the story of the Narrandera region and to celebrate the community members involved in the project.

Monday, 5 September 2016

WRA Conference Grants & Arts NSW bursaries - Your chance to go to Dubbo!

Western Riverina Arts has recently received a philanthropic donation to specifically assist with the professional development of artists and arts-workers living in the Griffith region. The donation was used to offer three grants to the value of $1000 to help Griffith-based artists to attend ARTLANDS,

We are pleased to announce the following artists as the recipients of the WRA Conference Grants:
  1. Sharni Montgomery from Yenda has a professional background in Journalism and Advertising and is currently studying Arts and Dementia Car through the University of Tasmania. She is aspiring a career as an Arts Therapist and wants to work with groups within the community.
  2. Anthea da Silva is a Griffith based arts & health professional, a qualified Occupational Therapist & Tertiary Arts Lecturer who has worked across a diverse spectrum – including Specialist Paediatric Clinics, University & TAFE, Prisons and Community & Urban Arts Projects. She’s also an engaging & experienced presenter in Life Drawing, painting & singing. Anthea’s artworks are exhibited nationally.
  3. A representative from Ley+Lah, a local design and production label based in Hanwood. Operated by 3 sisters the business creates indigenous themed & designed apparel and home decor items since early 2016. 
All artist were really excited about the opportunity and are looking forward to attend the biennial regional arts conference and festival in Dubbo from 27-30 October 2016.

If you missed out and are still keen to go to ARTLANDS we've got good news for you - Arts NSW is offering up to 10 bursaries for NSW artists and arts cultural workers to attend the ARTLANDS Regional Arts Conference. Each bursary allocation will cover full registration for the four day conference event.

Bursaries are open to all NSW artists and art and cultural workers however priority is given to people who live in regional NSW and Western Sydney and to young people, Aboriginal people, people with disability and from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.

Applications close 26 September. Find out more HERE

Applications close: 26 September 2016 (5pm, AEST – Sydney time)

NAVA - Visual Arts Fellowship

The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) launched two $20,000 fellowships supported by the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund, aimed at assisting exceptional mid-career Australian visual and media arts, craft and design practitioners to undertake a self-directed program of professional development.

This Fellowship will address the ‘mid-career desert’ where there are fewer existing opportunities for visual arts, craft and design practitioners and wants to ensure that two outstanding mid-career artists or collaborative groups can explore the next major developmental step in their practice and seek opportunities to enhance their reputations, build professional relationships and consolidate their careers.

Contemporary Australian painter and NAVA board member, Michael Zavros says, “This is an exciting new initiative offered by NAVA. We have such a fascination with young and emerging art in Australia and a focus on what's new and what's next that mid-career can be a long slow burn where artists lose impetus and find their careers plateau.”

This support also ensues artists will be temporarily relieved of the need to generate income allowing them to concentrate on the longer-term expansion of new ideas, artistic processes and career directions.

“Mid-career artists also find it increasingly difficult to extend their practice and take necessary risks, to make time for skills development and experimentation. These fellowships will give outstanding developing artists support at a crucial time in their development,” Zavros continued.

The fellowships will be open to individual mid-career artists and groups and can be used toward a range of activities in 2017 which may include, but not limited to research, travel, skills development, residencies, mentorships, professional development and training, and the creation of new work and exhibition/project costs.

Criteria for Evaluation:
  • demonstration of high quality work to date
  •  comprehensive exhibition history which can include commercial galleries, public galleries, state institutions and biennales and festivals.
  • practicing for more than 5 years
  • published articles and reviews about the artist’s practice
  • potential for the artist to develop new directions and ideas in their practice
  • demonstration of the benefit of the fellowship to the applicant’s professional practice and development of work
  • demonstration of the applicant’s capacity to undertake their proposed Fellowship Program. 
  •  Applicants must:
    - be the practitioner/s who will be the recipient/s of the Fellowship
    - identify as a mid-career artist, having practiced as a professional artist for at least 5-10 years
    - be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
    - not have any outstanding unacquitted grants from NAVA
  • Collaborative group applications (groups are at least two people) must be submitted with the details of all group members involved in the project. The grant will be awarded to the applicants nominated on the form
  • Grants are not retrospective. Funds will only be provided for projects taking place between January to December 2017
  • Late or incomplete applications will not be assessed (except for artists living in remote areas, see conditions below)
  • All other considerations being equal, NAVA members will be given priority. 

Professional status: 

Applicants must be practising professional visual or media arts, craft or design practitioner/s. Under NAVA’s definition, a professional practitioner will have some of the following professional characteristics: 
  • has regular public exhibitions of artwork
  • offers work for sale, or is selling work
  • is eligible for or has been awarded a government grant
  • is selected for public exhibition, awards, prizes
  • has secured work or consultancies on the basis of professional expertise
  • has had work acquired for public and/or private collections
  • has their work critically reviewed or written about
  • has given talks or workshops based on their practice
  • is a member of a professional association on the basis of his/her status as a professional practitioner/s 

Applications close Saturday 8 October 2016. 

For more information visit

Music: Count Us In - One Song, Your School, More Music

Music: Count Us In is an Australian schools initiative, where students across the country get the chance to be a part of something BIG and celebrate music by singing the same song, on the same day, at the same time.

The goal is to encourage young people to become passionate about music and musical education and Music: Count Us In is inviting all Australian schools to get involved. All you need to do is register your school for free, learn this year’s song and join more than half a million kids for Celebration Day on Thursday November 3rd.

Music: Count Us In 2016 has now launched and gives teachers and student across the country the chance to be a part of it. The 2016 Program Song ‘Let It Play’ was written by students Stella Kelly (16, WA), Tom Meadows (11, VIC), Bonnie Staude (14, WA) and Breanna Truscott (14, QLD) along with the Program Ambassador and Mentor. (See the video above)

Working directly with schools and teachers, Music: Count Us In assists teachers in providing quality music education to Australian schools. The program is both a participation program and an advocacy program – raising the profile of music education on the national stage, and providing students with practical music learning.

Spurred on by a 2007 National School Music Review which pointed to glaring inadequacies in music education in schools, the report included a recommendation to raise the status of music in schools. Music: Count Us In was the response. It's purpose is to energise and engage teachers, principals, school communities, and families, and to provide quality music participation opportunities, available to all.

The program has exceeded expectations by extending into all states and territories, and connecting with schools of every shape and size. It is freely available to every student in the country.

Previous mentors for the program have included esteemed artists Katie Noonan, Josh Pyke, Marcia Hines, Clare Bowditch and Melinda Schneider; led by Program Ambassador John Foreman OAM.

Actor and singer Jay Laga’aia of ‘Play School’ fame joins Music: Count Us In this year as program mentor. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how people interpret the song. This is very much a story that you send to different communities and they come back with their versions of the story. To get together on that special Celebration Day and for everyone to sing it – for me, that’s going to be very exciting!”

For more information and to become involved please visit

Griffith Regional Art Gallery "FLOWER POWER" - be part of it!

Spring is finally here, the first vivid flowers are blooming and what a beautiful sight it is. Definitely time to put this delicate creation of nature in the spotlight and celebrate FLOWER POWER at the Griffith Regional Art Gallery. The annual community exhibition will be on from Saturday 17 September to Sunday 16 October and will coincide with the towns popular Festival of the Gardens.

And YOU can be a part of it!

Griffith Regional Art Gallery is inviting all local artists to enter up to two works in any medium (painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, etc) based on the theme "Brighter is better". The artworks and entry forms need to be handed in by Saturday 10 September and a number of awards will be given to outstanding artworks.


Drop off your completed entry form and artwork/s to Griffith Regional Art Gallery on Saturday 10 September 2016 between 10am and 5pm. When you deliver you will be required to pay entry fee of $5 (per artwork) to the Gallery. All work must be presented ready to be hung.

  • include D-rings on the back of your work for hanging
  • carefully read and complete all components of the entry form, including the terms and conditions. 
  • $5 entry fee (per entry).  
  • put the artist/s name/s and title of the artwork on the back or underside of the artwork. 
  •  Artworks and completed entry forms to be delivered to Art Gallery by Saturday 10 September 2016
  • Exhibition opening Saturday 17 September at 11am (closes Sunday 16 October 2016)
  • All artworks must be collected no later than Sunday 23 October 2016


Is open to all students from Preschool to Year 12 aimed to encourage and develop young artists. The awards will be judged by the Sainty family. A number of awards will be given:
  • 3 x preschool highly commended certificates
  • $50 creative arts materials pack of a junior primary school student (K - Years 4)
  • $100 creative arts materials pack for senior primary school student (years 5&6)
  • $100 creative arts materials pack for junior high school students (Years 7 - 10)
  • $100 creative arts materials pack for senior high school student (years 11&12)


The People’s Choice Award will run for the duration of the exhibition giving the exhibition visitors the chance to vote for their favourite artwork. Votes will be collected throughout the exhibition and collated at the close of the exhibition. The winner will receive a Griffith Regional Theatre 2017 membership, a double pass to one of the season shows of their choice, and a solo exhibition at the ArtSpace at Griffith Regional Theatre in 2017.

Interested? Fill out the entry form now and be a part of FLOWER POWER - Brighter is better!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Sydney Dance Company is coming to the Riverina!

Sydney Dance Company’s CounterMove explores luminescence and life in a double bill with exhilarating physical dance performed by some of Australia’s finest dancers.

From one of the world’s most exciting choreographers comes a laugh-out-loud funny and affectionate tribute and parody of modern art: Cacti. Swedish Alexander Ekman’s witty and energetic piece, performed by the full Company and a string quartet, will take you in with a knowing wink, then surprise you with its bracing physicality.

The Australian proclaimed Cacti ‘… a delight: witty, effervescent, playful, surreal and joyously physical’, Time Out Sydney lauded its ‘infectious playful energy and absolutely incisive wit’. called it ‘blindingly brilliant’ and the Daily Telegraph noted the audience’s laughter was ‘impossible to suppress’. Cacti has been on tour since it premiered in 2013 performing to sold-out audiences.

Rafael Bonachela’s world premiere, Lux Tenebris, provides the perfect contrast: light and darkness emerging from a dusky sonic landscape by composer Nick Wales (long-term collaborator of Sarah Blasko). Movement follows deep, unexpected, visceral beats, and sharp, sudden twists to discover a dark place where there is space for beauty and light. Bonachela’s work, as always, is deeply emotional.

CounterMove will intrigue, move and entertain you. Don’t miss out.
Wednesday August 24, 7.30pm
Rated G
Genre: Dance
Duration: 75 mins including interval
Advance tickets end 17 August @ 5pm

Advance Ticket: $25
Member: $30
Adults: $40
Cons/U21: $35
Child: $15