Contemporary government policies and the new budget in particular have not been kind to the arts. We can no longer rely on funding bodies to supply us with arts content. Big Screen is gone and the other programs funded by Arts Victoria like Cafe Culture will be going. This is a great opportunity.
We find ourselves back in the days of the sixties when there was no arts funding and we had to do everything ourselves. In those days all arts organisations were volunteer and grass roots. They were not dominated by beuracrats and boards of management comprising the unimaginative, the stuffy and the self important. The people doing the organising were doing the creative work. The whole enterprise was participatory, no sitting around waiting for someone to do something or for something to come on offer.
With all this in mind we have decided to launch South Eastern Solar Events. This was precipitated when Mallacoota Arts Council decided to no longer to support our Solstice celebrations. So, what’s happening?
We are staging four events per year set around the four
solar events – The Winter and Summer Solstices and the Autumnal and Vernal Equinoxes. These are spread evenly throughout the year dividing it up into convenient quarters. The solstices are when the sun rises at its extreme north and south ranges and are the longest and shortest days of the year. The equinoxes are the dates when the days and nights are of equal length.
So what is happening?
In each quarter of the year we will celebrate a different art form. This cycle the Winter Solstice celebrates Dance and Food, the Spring (vernal) Equinox will celebrate Writing and Performance, The Summer Solstice will celebrate the Visual and Plastic Arts and the Autumnal Equinox (2015) will celebrate the Digital Arts. All of these events are an opportunity for you to participate.
For the Winter Solstice we have the Briagalong Bush Band coming to town to host a bush dance on Saturday June 21. The quality of this band is legendary as is their hosting of bush dance events. There fiddle player just won The Golden Fiddle Award at Tamworth. We are working on the food component. There will also be the usual Family Fun Day on the Sunday afternoon featuring a ‘Paint In’ focusing on painting family portraits.
The Vernal Equinox (around September 22) will include writers workshop culminating in a performance of local writing. Food will also figure prominently.
The Summer Solstice will celebrate the visual and plastic arts with a community arts exhibition at the School (dovetailing into the school’s Arts Week) over the school holidays. This will be an opportunity for you to exhibit your work and offer it for sale to locals and the thousands of visitors in town at that time. Locals and visitors will be encouraged to participate in the construction of an arts installation over the period. Maybe something set in the Betka River!
Finally in April 2015 at the Autumnal Equinox we will be focusing on Digital Poetry and short videos where we will celebrate our local history and our stunning natural environment.
All this will be done with the absolute minimum of official financial assistance and the maximum of local participation and creative activity.
We are looking at the new arts environment as a positive opportunity to reclaim community arts from the beauracrat and to make our local arts our own. The wheel has gone full circle, it’ s time to begin again and you can be part of it.

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