During 2011 a large and somewhat anarchic group formed to discuss and lobby for the arts. The membership of around 500 arts practitioners and supporters grew from facebook discussions about invigorating and nurturing the arts of this region.
Around 200 attended a forum at the Art Gallery of Ballarat and contributed ideas for action. Better communication about the arts and between arts practitioners, and a physical hub/gallery space for the arts were considered particularly important. At a further meeting, a Steering Group was formed to work on these projects.
Already much has been achieved. To showcase local arts performers and encourage discussion, the first Art Sparks was held at Porticos in November. Supported by the City of Ballarat and Tinderbox Radio, this event featured singers Amie Brûlée and Lily Parker, and poet Nathan Curnow, as well as screened images of local theatre, music, painting and sculpture. The next will be held at South Street Art Studio (410 South Street) on January 31, from 6.30pm. Other Art Sparks in the planning include a live broadcast at Voice FM, in February and Buninyong Brewery event in March.
To address the communication problem a design brief has been developed for an extensive website which will provide information about arts events, artists, performances, venues, funding and other opportunities. Arts practitioners and event organisers of this region will be able to add their own information. This project is funded by LEAP (Localities Enhancing Arts Participation) and supported by City of Ballarat. It should be online from mid 2012.
Another team is looking at the revitalisation of underused spaces for creative use. A centrally located art space that supports the making and presentation of a broad range of art practices is a particular priority.
To become involved with Ballarat Arts Alive or any of its projects, contact chairperson, Pete Widmer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Merle Hathaway (0419 324042) or go to the Ballarat Arts Alive facebook site, which has information about local arts activities.