Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Raveaboutarts in 2014 and beyond; pursuing excellence in community arts and development

The Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council would like to thank all the dedicated volunteers who make the annual artistic program happen and bring a variety of events and projects for our community to engage in and enjoy.  By the way it is true, and scientifically proven; art is good for you!
2014 has been an exceptionally busy year for the Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council.
The antics began on February 8 at a well-attended AGM, held at the Jerdacuttup Hall and premiering the 2013 Wheel of Fortunes documentary put together by the talented Amber Perryman. 
From then on it was a chaotic spin into the first event a couple of weeks later, an Art on the Move and Community Arts Network WA touring photography exhibition, Voices of the Wheatbelt, at the Dunnart Studio Gallery in Ravensthorpe.  This was a great lead up to the compilation of our own community Calendar, made in collaboration with the Ravensthorpe Community Resource Centre and celebrating volunteers across our broad community.  No sooner had this exhibition ended and been packed off in crates than the RRAC Coordinator was packing her own bags and heading up to Fremantle for the Country Arts WA Regional Exchange; two days jam-packed with networking and discussions on common regional arts issues with other representatives from all over the state.
Flak, true stories from the men who flew in WWII and performed by Michael Veitch at the Hopetoun Hall, was the next event before  Get Hypnotised, a hilarious night out at the Ravensthorpe Town Hall thanks to Hypnotists Matthew Hale and the volunteers who took to the stage!
The next event was also at the Ravensthorpe Hall, a pantomime of Harry Potter and the Great Rip Off, which starred local school children in the Hogwarts Choir.  In between all these events RRAC volunteers were also busy organising Homespun crochet circles, Pink Thread Portraits workshops and that Community Calendar was ticking along nicely.  The Pink Thread Portraits and Community Calendar both culminated in a fantastic performance of Calendar Girls by the touring Jally Entertainment.  Over $1400 was raised by the RRAC and participating locals for the Leukaemia Foundation WA…and an excellent night was had by all!
After the Calendar Girls performance in May things appeared to go a bit quiet, but we were madly completing funding acquittals and the CAWA mid-year report…as well as applying for more funding for more shows to follow and assistance for the RRAC committee to attend the Regional Arts Australia Arts and Edges Summit in Kalgoorlie in October. Meanwhile people were busy welding away in two weekend workshops with Animal Engineering or in their own sheds at home to make 17 more spectacular sculptures to include in the Farm Gate Art Trail.  As well as this our two local dancers, Beck and Clare, were busy participating in further professional development with our Wheel of Fortunes choreographer Aimee Smith whilst planning a program of holiday dance workshops for children which culminated in a fabulous performance at the end of the holidays.  The girls also put together a gorgeous performance at the Wildflower Show Gala Dinner and an unexpected Flash Mob that surprised the guests (and some of the participants who still can’t quite believe they did it!).
In July it was back up to the Ravensthorpe Hall for a hilarious afternoon with Jens Altheimer performing his award winning children's  show Squaring the Wheel.  Hmmmm anyone else's kids still shouting "easier" when fronted with a problem????

BIG was the next major event for the RRAC and it certainly proved to be a showstopper!  12 BIG canvases were painted by 12 talented local artists and displayed in the Ravensthorpe Town Hall during the Wildflower Show and then auctioned off at the end to the highest bidder.   Dust of Uruzgan proved to be the highlight of the year for many who attended this unforgettably unique and touching performance by Fred Smith out at the Jerdy Hall.
Again we had barely finalised that project and we were on the road to Kalgoorlie with hundreds of Homespun flowers and a big shoe to meet up with over 550 other delegates, politicians and major stakeholders in the Arts from across Australia.  It was an awe-inspiring four days as you would have read from previous published articles by the attending RRAC delegates.
And now, (inhale/exhale) with no more events rf projects scheduled for 2014 it is time to take stock of the year that was; complete the end of year reports and develop the 2015 program.  So far we have some exciting ideas in the pipelines…a visit by 3 Fringeworld acts will kick start events on February 8 at the Ravensthorpe Town Hall, after the AGM to be held earlier on January 31st at Sue‘s house out at Blue Vista (see the ad in this issue for more details).  Although as yet we are unable to confirm dates and venues we can say that we will be presenting 3 quality touring Shows On The Go from Country Arts WA.   B2M (Bathurst to Melville) will have you dancing in the aisles, Gym and Tonic will have you giggling in your spandex (sweatbands optional) and  The Lost WW1 Diary by Damian Callinan will follow up on themes from previous events such as the Lyn Dale workshops in 2013, and Flak and Dust of Uruzgan earlier this year.  RRAC will also be hosting an exhibition and workshops by Denmark artist Christina Harrison on the themes of art and maths in September, which we are hoping will be well attended by school groups.
As well as the touring shows the RRAC are busy planning a wearable art extravaganza along with the Ravensthorpe District Art Group and the Wildflower Show Committee.  Keep an eye out for some colourful new community members with our “15 Frames of Fame” project (yes, it is as crazy as it sounds…we’ve let Ainsley AKA Angelinarainbowfamily, loose) and some more of those popular welding workshops will be occurring in a slightly different format to recent years. RRAC will also be assisting the Hopetoun Dance Group to bring a dance instructor down weekly for lessons with children in Hopetoun and the Ravensthorpe District Art Group to again run some workshops for those wishing to participate in the wearable art project.
As well as all this we will be revisiting our Strategic Plan and taking the committee to Albany for some professional development.  We are also in negotiations with a very unique and energetic touring group called the Chooky Dancers…check them out at
If you are not getting tired by just reading this proposed program, perhaps you would like to join the mad team that is the RRAC?  We are in need of enthusiastic and energetic volunteers to keep the momentum going!  No previous experience in the arts is at all necessary.  Contact Mel Daw on 0427 381 530 for more details.  Visit our FB page at  and our Blogsite at
Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council would like to acknowledge the support received from the Shire of Ravensthorpe, Country Arts WA and the Department for Culture and the Arts.

Enjoy these photos from the amazing year that we have had.

The BIG Exhibition, accompanied by artwork from students at Ravensthorpe DHS.

Calendar Girls cabaret style with Pink Threads Portraits Exhibition.

Expectant audience at Get Hypnotised.

Di Belli and Fay Obrien with Michael Veitch at Flak.

Farm Gate Art by Helen Taylor.

Dust of Uruzgan.

Hogwarts Choir rehearsals.

Crochet Circle at The Chair.

24 hour Dance Marathon at the Regional Arts Australia Arts and Edges Summit.

Squaring the Wheel children's physical theatre workshop.

Jo Smith from Ausdance WA, choreographer Aimee Smith, Clare Doolan and Rebecca Hillier.

Tigers Hockey team at a Pink Threads Portraits workshop.

Glen Stoddart's entry for the Community Calendar.

Ravensthorpe DHS students at the Voices of the Wheatbelt exhibition.

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