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How can art transform your town? Join the conversation.

Think big. Join our discussion, share your inspirations, and we’ll post a range of creative place-making examples from Australia and around the world.

Art has the uniquely transformative power to bring people together, inspire fresh perspectives, compose new ideas, build confidence and resilience, promote health and wellbeing, teach new skills, foster new connections and create places that are welcoming, stimulating and unique.

Do your local artists constantly come up with big public ideas that can’t be funded? Does your main street need a designer or architect to create a meaningful focal point that would inspire everyone? Do you have a public space that’s waiting to become a gathering or performance space? Have you got a great idea for a participatory project that would involve everyone in town? Are you keen to develop and present a creative project that would boost local business and tourism?

Read on to see artist and community thoughts as Small Town Transformations projects developed from the question: How can art transform your town?

Successful projects were announced on Saturday, 25 May 2013.

146 thoughts on “Let’s start talking

  1. Minister for the Arts, the Hon. Heidi Victoria, will announce the Small Town Transformations projects this Saturday at Regional Arts Victoria’s Members’ Celebration and AGM! See you there? Here’s a link to the details and how to RSVP, which you will already have received via email as a member: http://www.rav.net.au/about-us/news-media/story/979/

    We will also be announcing the shortlist, and encouraging support for all projects that have not been successful on this occasion.

    We look forward to seeing you there! And then, having respected the space and privacy of all applicants, we’re opening up our discussion once the announcements are made, so that we can all keep imagining how art can transform our towns.

  2. A Small Town Transformations update!

    Many thanks to everyone who has been in touch this week for feedback. Regional Arts Victoria was overwhelmed with applications for this new initiative. We received 65 passionate applications from all over the state, which represents around one in three of all eligible small towns. This is a remarkable testament to the creative vision and the community dynamism that makes Victoria the state of the arts.

    For every call we’ve received, our team have been going through specific feedback noted by our expert independent panel during the assessment meeting. We’ve also been offering tailored advice on how to develop those ideas further, including alternative funding options, and further consultation with other Regional Arts Victoria staff.

    Yesterday we presented the shortlist to the Minister for the Arts, Heidi Victoria, and the former Minister, Ted Baillieu. They were as excited as us about the next steps. Come May, we will share these with the world.

    As the shortlisted towns prepare their final applications in the privacy of their communities, we encourage all applicants to stay in touch with Regional Arts Victoria – and we look forward to meeting you again. Yesterday the Arts Minister emphasised that Small Town Transformations is intended as a pilot project, and we have every hope that it will be presented again in 2014 following a successful first round.

    Transformation is a big concept – encompassing arts, community, place, vision and heart – and we encourage all applicants to keep developing your ideas. You’ve already taken that first important step, and we’re right here to support the next ones. Regional Arts Victoria exists to inspire art across the state. Take a look at our membership programs, join our mailing list, stay in touch via social media, and let’s keep making great work together!

  3. Many thanks for your interest and your applications for Small Town Transformations!

    EOIs for Small Town Transformations closed on 21 February, and since that time the independent Artistic Advisory and Selection Panel have been going through the intensive process of assessing the high volume of applications received.

    The successful projects will be announced in early May.

  4. On the home stretch! If you’re yet to submit your Expression of Interest:
    – don’t leave it til the last minute. Be sure to submit well before noon tomorrow, Thursday 21 February, to ensure your Internet speeds beat the deadline;
    – do not use this blog for technical questions. Contact the Regional Arts Victoria office directly;
    – be sure you’ve read the Guidelines and EOI instructions, submitting nothing else except what we request.
    Best of proofing luck to you!

  5. Hi there. Nearly done.. but I’ve got the same problem with the budget document not accepting my subtotal. (my last figure for the night!!) I’m going to just leave it blank .. unless anyone else found an answer? :-S

  6. As we head into the final days, enjoy this intensive process of refining your proposal!

    Before contacting us or posting queries here, be sure to:
    – read through the Guidelines and FAQs
    – read through the EOI and Partner forms on the How to Apply page
    – read the examples and guidance across this website.

    You’ll find 99% of your questions answered immediately, leaving you more time to tweak your proposal and submit well before noon on Thursday, 21 February!

  7. Hi Again
    another point of clarification required please:
    Our Lead Applicant has completed a partner confirmation letter with a sizeable dollar amount contribution both cash and in-kind. I understand that as Lead Applicant they don’t need to submit partner letter but are we able to include their $$ contribution to the budget? thanks in anticipation Nettie

    • Good evening Nettie,

      Sounds like a great application shaping up there! The Lead Applicant is the one submitting the Expression of Interest; they do not fill out a Partner Confirmation Letter as they are not a Partner. You’ll note that the budget has a section for the cash and/or in-kind contribution of the Lead Applicant, so that’s the place to record that. Other information that they’ve put in the Partner Confirmation Letter should go in the proposal under the relevant question. Do not submit a Partner Confirmation Letter for the Lead Applicant, nor any other support material, except what the EOI specifically requests. Best of luck with your final steps!

    • thank you again….really didn’t expect a reply so late in the evening! :) appreciate the reference to checking guidelines one last time also before posting questions….:)

  8. Hi – Forrest Art Collective here…completing the EOI application – we have been overwhelmed with willing partners for the Studio Forrest Project however the application form only allows details for:

    1 lead applicant with a partner organisation and then up to 3 other partners (this makes 5 partners in total one of whom is the leader applicant – is that correct?)

    we have potentially 7 partners in total…(some great energy and momentum developing!)

    so the question is…..do we just put the details of the first five and mention the other two in the body of the application and then firm up the compilation if going through to the second stage of application process?

    thanks Nettie on behalf of Forrest Art Collective

    • Hi Nettie and the Forrest Art Collective! EOIs will have a maximum of four Partners, and each Partner needs to make a contribution to the project, whether that’s cash or in-kind. (The Lead Applicant is not a Partner; they are the applicant with whom the Partners are partnering.)

      Please choose the four Partners who are making the most significant contributions which are vital to the proposal you’re setting out in the EOI. These contributions will be quantified and will feature in your budget.

      Others who are merely supporting, or who are participating in the project, can be mentioned in the questions about Local Engagement and Community Participation. Best of luck with these final steps!

  9. Hi again

    Budget ? The seemingly innocuous budget line – Independent evaluation – on further exploration and making enquires of organisations that do such things, it turned out to be a substantial impact, as generally, evaluation of a project is 10% of total budget.
    So there a 2 parts to the question:

    1. Is this the sort of evaluation RAV had intended an ongoing assessment of the project or a review at the end. This makes a big difference in cost.

    2. Had RAV considered contracting this service out to make all the independent evaluations on an even footing and consistent with considerable costs savings.

    • Hi Clive – once again, a topic that came up often in our info sessions! All projects will have very different evaluation needs depending on their focus, and all projects must be independently audited. Both are the responsibility of the funded projects, and will be conducted at the end, though ongoing documentation will be important in supporting this. Your costs need not go as high as 10%.

      Projects’ evaluations and audits will work against the contracted measures therefore there will be consistency across all projects.

      Additionally, and independently to this, Regional Arts Victoria will have the Small Town Transformations project as a whole independently evaluated by a leading university, as well as independently audited.

  10. hey was just checking the census facts there are lots of different figures for towns so maybe 1276 is just the town so the group should be ok….

  11. hey there
    the cut off according to the brief is 1500, Heywood’s census data comes in at 1725….does this make them ineligible or are there exceptions?

  12. hi
    Our Council has refused to be lead applicant as they believe it will be frowned upon having a lead applicant as a government agency in the selection process. Is this the case?
    and
    Our only other possible lead applicant is a small local progress association, they have just five members and the town only 120 people, they are concerned that they would not be able to deal with the implications of having to become gst registered, will the grant cover GST if we are faced with no alternative but to pay it?
    thank
    Chris

    • Good morning, Jon! Council can indeed be a Lead Applicant; do encourage them to take a good look around our website, including the Guidelines and FAQs. Lead Applicants and project teams must be able to demonstrate their experience in managing projects and funds of this scope, which includes financial management. If successful, projects will receive the $350,000 grant money plus GST, so nobody will be out of pocket in dealing with tax obligations. Best of luck with your Expression of Interest.

  13. This is a question about ‘partners’ in the project. If a person or organisation is a ‘partner’, can they also be employed by the project or would that be seen as a conflict of interest?

    • Please see the FAQs on partners and their contribution. While the cash or in-kind contribution of partners must be quantified, they may also be employed by the project without conflict if their employment is clearly defined. For example, local council might partner on in-kind marketing, yet be paid a fee for permits and risk management.

  14. Greetings all from the road to Yarragon! Wonthaggi this afternoon, Echuca and Dookie tomorrow, then Wangaratta and Yea on Thursday. It’s been so inspiring to meet you all as you prepare your EOIs.

    With applications closing at noon next Thursday, 21 February, please contact Regional Arts Victoria directly with specific questions – after taking a very good look around this website, the Guidelines and the FAQs. Let’s keep this discussion focused on how art can transform your town; by contacting us directly, you’re in the best position to have any misunderstandings clarified in time to support your application. Best of luck!

  15. Hi again, nice to meet you all yesterday. As you know I went to the Yinnar event and Carolyn Crossley went to Bairnsdale & Briagalong. Of course we then compared notes. I thought this was 5 projects based on entirely merit but Carolyn came home saying it was definitely one from each of the 5 RADO areas – or in other words, all Gippsland proposals were just competing against each other for one of the $350,000s.

    I think everyone would like to know which version is correct

    • Thanks Clive. As we responded in answer to your question at yesterday’s info session, the selection panel will assess based on the selection criteria, and they will also aim for a geographic spread. There are no defined geographic areas or regions and the location of our RADOs bears no impact on the independent panel’s assessment. Please also note the Guidelines and FAQs, and best of luck with your application.

  16. Once again it’s time to join us on the road! Next week we visit Yinnar, Bairnsdale, Yarragon, Wonthaggi, Echuca, Dookie, Wangaratta and Yea. Find all the times and locations on the Upcoming Info Sessions page.

    With the Expressions of Interest deadline approaching at noon on Thursday, 21 February, we’ll go through the application forms together, and answer any questions you may have. In preparation, take a good look around this site – in particular, at the FAQs, which we’ve been updating with the questions we were asked most frequently while visiting Camperdown, Port Fairy, Horsham, Ouyen, Lake Boga, Charlton, Learmonth and Napoleons.

    See you next week – and enjoy these final weeks of gathering together to plan your transformative project!

  17. We’re looking at doing a sculpture walk in town to showcase our art for public spaces. But not just any sculpture walk. We want to use it to restore access to the banks of Fish Creek to reconnect the town to its namesake. This means we will need to look at flood mitigation so something creative and aesthetic would be fantastic. It will be good to connect art and the environment. Then we will have an outdoor asset for our Tea Cosy Festival too and a permanent place for outside artistic contemplation

  18. Hi again, Here at the Cowwarr Art Space we’re grinding our way through the EOI, Sometimes feeling that we are being asked to provide a full and detailed description of our transformative project and sometimes feeling that a more general conceptual overview is being requested. EOIs are traditionally general but there have been so variants in recent years that I think some clarification would be helpful for us all.

    • Hi Clive – our EOI form is a straightforward document supported by Guidelines as well as the rest of this website. There are no previous years to refer to; this is a new initiative. Please contact us for specific queries, and check out our road trip schedule to attend an info session in early Feb.

  19. We’re back in Melbourne after an inspiring and indeed quite emotional four days across half of our state of the arts! From Camperdown to Port Fairy, Horsham, Ouyen, Lake Boga, Charlton, Learmonth and Napoleons, we’ve had the privilege of experiencing the creative passions of hundreds of you, and we’ve seen first hand just how many brilliant Small Town Transformations are just waiting to happen. Thank you all so very much for welcoming us so warmly.

    In a few weeks’ time we’ll venture across the other half of the state, this time with a focus on completing application forms, as the noon on Thursday, 21 February draws near. It’s been a couple of months now that we’ve been discussing how art can transform your town; news the time to set those ideas into a proposal. Keep taking a good look around this website, and contact us for further advice and support.

  20. Hi we are based in the small town of Chewton and are looking at submitting an EOI.Just having a bit of trouble identifying which RADO would be the most relevant to liaise with. We are unsure of which Region Chewton falls into.
    Thanks

  21. Hi, I am the President of the local Yarrawonga and Mulwala Artists Assoc. Are club has a membership of 30 at present. Are area also has a lot of artists who are not members.

    We are looking to find an outlet to exhibit our local art. Currently Yarrawonga does not have this. There is our old railway station that could be used but needs to be renovated. Once that is done it could be used as a permanent gallery, but also for other events.

    This would mean that we could add to the things to do and see in Yarrawonga, boosting tourism. We would also like to start running workshops. This would be available to locals, but we would also be looking at packaged weekends to encourage people to come up to Yarrawonga. This would also help with local business. Would this be something that would come under the funding project.

  22. Oh I’m sorry I feel this is going to appear as a random comment – but just wanted to let Deb Shill (from the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust) (who commented earlier) that the (f)route project is working on a proposal that will possibly come from a Bruthen/Nowa Nowa partnership – PLEASE let us know if you are keen to join in? (I know you know a little bit about (f)route – could be good!)
    And yeah, can’t wait to chat to the RAV folk when you get to East Gippsland.What a project!

    • Hi Andrea and thanks for the info….I am hoping to secure some funding to continue the mural art which was started last year at Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust. The folk are keen and so am I but unfortunately the Tafe cannot afford to renew my contract and The Trust are struggling to find funds for materials….The CEO of the Trust suggested a mural be painted on the bus shelter on the highway at Rules Rd. Nowa Nowa which I imagine would be some sort of a partnership arrangement between the Trust and East Gipps. Shire. It could also develop into ongoing work for the artists from the Trust (there’s lots of bus shelters!)? I don’t know if this would fit into the (f)route master plan or indeed whether or not it would fit the criteria required by RAV…I’m obviously very new to this funding business!!

  23. What a fantastic funding opportunity Bravo Arts Vic, I have been trying to get funding to run projects akin to this in other states of Australia only to fall flat, I commend you on your foresight…I hope you get some wonderful projects.

    • Sounds interesting, RED. Please take a good look around the site, especially the FAQs and the guidelines. The proposal will need to demonstrate how the restoration will have a transformative impact on the town, with a lasting legacy. Best of luck with it – and come along to one of our regional Information Sessions, or contact us, to discuss further!

  24. Hi All, We live in a small community called Sandford in Outer Regional Victoria. We are 3 kms from casterton.
    We are having our first meeting on monday 21/01/2013 in sandford to discuss what we would like to do for our small community We have a unused Rail track which links many towns together. Starting at Casterton and ends in Portland. Over the past 2 years Sandford has become a Hub for Artist’s. One idea is linking small towns togehter by a Artist trail, This could be injoyed by local’s , visitor’s and we beleave could boost the local tourism to our area,and to our gallery’s. We will be attending one of the presentations,good luck to all.

    • Great to hear, Ian – and I look forward to meeting you! In fact, this disused railway reminds me of an unrealised project of mine from a decade ago… We’re going to have a lot to talk about. Hope Monday’s meeting is inspiring for everyone.

  25. My town (Stanley in northeast Victoria) is listed as a ‘Gazetted locality’ with population 324 according to 2011 Census. ARIA index 1 indicating ‘inner regional’, which surprised me a little. We have a very active community and our annual Art Show ‘Beyond the bends’ opens tomorrow, as it happens. I trust we are eligible although apparently not strictly a ‘town’ ?

    • Absolutely you are eligible! We did toy with the idea of calling it “Small Gazetted Locality Transformations” but it just didn’t have the same ring to it. Communities and towns in Victoria come in all sorts of forms at the small scale, and because of their relative accessibility to one another compared to Australia’s low population density, the ARIA index classifies much of Victoria as “inner regional.”

    • Thanks for the fast response, which is reassuring. I felt fairly confident but that ARIA index 1 & GL rating made me wonder. Our group will meet again next week to (hopefully) produce a strategic plan to be further refined in good time for the RAV visit session in Wangaratta on 14Feb13, as after that we only have a week to get everything finalised/lodged

  26. Applications for Small Town Transformations open this Monday, 14 January 2013! We’ll have Guidelines and Expressions of Interest (EOI) forms on this website during the day, and you’ve got until noon on Thursday, 21 February to submit your EOI. Come and meet us at one of our Information Sessions so that we can answer your questions (http://smalltowns.rav.net.au/info-sessions/).

    And most importantly: start talking to your local artists, partners, council and everyone else who should be involved in your small town transformation!

  27. Our discussions ran into a bit of a road block the other day, someone introduced the hypothetical notion that a small town put in a successful submission to Regional Arts Victoria but the shire’s art in public places advisory committee over ruled it and would not allow it to go ahead.

    This made us notice that a good proportion of the more interesting works are actually guerilla type acts that purposely ignore local government rules, which, of course, cannot happen on this occasion for the obvious reason that the State can’t sponsor unlawfulness. Many of the other interesting works are initiated by government authorities for sites under their control.

    It would not be unusual for some small towns in Victoria to have various parts controlled by different state authorities such as its own shire, the DSE, local water and Vic Roads, all with very different attitudes to transformations of any kind. We were quite surprised to see which authorities controlled what.

    I think some guidance would be helpful on this topic.

    • The most successful art – in terms of effecting a transformation with lasting legacy – will have the support of the community and work within the community’s laws. Indeed, the greatest artistic challenge is to understand the frameworks in which art and community are sustained, and to interpret those in new ways. Mastering any system is always the best way to innovate.

      Any proposal for public works would be expected to secure council approval, the relevant permits, the risk management thumbs up and of course, to have captured the imagination of the community.

    • Thank you for the amazingly prompt response.

      Re: “Any proposal for public works would be expected to secure council approval”

      I actually think that its not only “public works” (permanent material objects) but also any proposal for just about any type of activity at all.

      Public liability Insurance, Workcare, and appropriately certificated workers probably shouldn’t be overlooked either.

  28. Less than 1500 in the small town? If you have 5 small towns that have population each under 1500 or do you have to add together the populations of each town and combined they have to be under 1500. Also what happens if a few of them are not ‘towns’ anymore but you are planning/including them in one big Arts project for a whole Ward and one is the centre of the Arts theme?

  29. Hello,
    Last year a 8 x 3 metre mural was painted on an old sports shed by a small group of young residents at the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust. It quite transforms the drive into the township and has inspired the community. Many suggestions have been put forward by various community members since, including the bus shelter on the highway at the turn off to the Trust.
    ..My question is: would the Lake Tyers Community be eligible for funding for this/these project(s)? It has a population of around 150 people and is part of the township of Nowa Nowa by postcode.

    • Hi Debra
      After reading your two posts it strikes me that it would be good for us to have a chat about the Regional Arts Fund. I am going to be in Bruthen and Lakes Entrance on thursday this week. Contact me on 0427 842 328 if you want to meet up. Cheers, Deb

  30. Towns are the heart and soul of the country. The smaller the town the bigger the hearts and souls, the more intense, inspiring and feeling the art is. Small town art send tingles up your spine, and a shiver of emotional, sensory anticipation. It makes you feel human again and in touch with the very soul of being a community again.

  31. Sure RAV, in response to your request, below are some links for background reading.

    The quick summary is that the ILC bought the Ayer’s Rock resort at Uluru from Voyages in 2011, and have been running it with the same branding. I hear from people who work there that they have been making some substantial changes regarding art and cultural programs. I am interested to know if anyone has visited there recently and their experiences.

    Links regarding Ayers Rock Resort and the Uluru region:
    http://www.voyages.com.au/
    http://www.ilc.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=232
    http://www.ilc.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=334
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutitjulu

    • Ben, one of our Cowwarr Art Space, artists in residence, a writer and multi media person, took a job as a French interpreter for tour groups after she left here, she’s now the coordinator of the Ngurratjuta – Many Hands Art Centre and probably knows how things are going out at Uluru.

      But……Alice pretty much closes down at this time of the year due to the heat, so getting any useful info isn’t going to be easy.

      Given that tourism has dropped off big time and GFC, I’d suspect that things are pretty tough out there at the moment.

    • Hi Ben, The artist in residence program one of the most rewarding things we do, it amazes me how a young European woman like Iris will just click a link and arrive in what must seem like the middle of nowhere (Cowwarr). Iris and I have just published a book – an integral part of my next show.

      Quite a bunch of very talented people have stayed here – all sort of family now!

      http://www.cowwarr.com/p/artist-in-residence.html

  32. An interesting, complex, example of a small town project I can think of are the current changes in Mutijulu bought about by the ILC taking over operations in the Uluru resort.

    This is a great discussion but perhaps it is getting a bit long for clarity. Can I suggest that this project could be split into a few threads? The originally national scope seems to have focussed a bit on Victoria and the RAV funding available there.

    • Great to hear from you, Ben! Small Town Transformations was always Victorian in scope, but our conversation about how art can transform your town is necessarily broader. We’ve been drawing in examples from around Australia and around the world to inspire ambitious thinking, and keeping that discussion gathered in one place for easy scrolling and participation. The scope of the project and the funding available is described throughout this site. I know you have plenty of experience in these areas – tell us more about Mutijulu?

    • Great rstyleswood

      I will be getting the publicity blurb for ‘Let me count the ways’ up soon and putting it past RAV to include in their publicity. I can then send it on to you, or if you would like to contact me directly that is fine too.

      cheers Roger

  33. Hi

    This is such a great opportunity, and I am sure that the projects will demonstrate the diversity of art making here.

    I am putting together a project where I want to ask people who live in small towns to document what they love about their town, (or really any aspect of their life) in any way they want to – for example movies from their phone, writing, pictures, etc – anything at all that people feel comfortable with. This will then be made available, with permission, on the web and in any other way the people who participate would like.

    The project is called ‘Let Me Count the Ways’, and I hope it is something that celebrates and alerts people to the great things that there are in smaller towns.

    The project has funding, and quite a few small towns are involved. But it would be great for anyone else to be involved, and maybe to link with this new RAV project.

  34. I’m a country born and raised person now living in the city, and involved in managing a community choral group, The Maroondah Singers. Our group was formed to give people in the community a place to come and sing. We could offer community workshops with expert tuition, a two hour concert with world class soloists, and a community singalong as well. Would such a program meet the criteria for supporting The Arts in our small towns?

    • The theme of this initiative is Small Town Transformations. You’re welcome to take a good look around this website, and see whether you and your group might be interested in forming part of a small town partnership for a project addressing an identified need for transformation. We’d also welcome you to stay in touch with Regional Arts Victoria through our membership program, as well as our website and social media, to remain connected to arts opportunities.

  35. Good morning, all! In response to Clive’s question below on whether there are any “no go” areas, we are not limiting the artistic scope of applications; it’s up to the imaginations of communities, artists and towns to consider what kind of creative project would have a transformative impact, and leave a lasting legacy. This will mean different things in different places. How can art transform your town?

    • Thanks for that, very helpful, we’ve had a big community chatting day, very interesting, someone pointed out that the unassailable benchmark example of a transformative small town artwork is Dimboola – the Jack Hibberd play – though I wasn’t convinced that the population would be too happy still being portrayed that way. Evidently its the most seen Australian play of all time. Fortunately for all of us Dimboola has a population of over 3000.

  36. We at The Cowwarr Art Space are becoming quite despondent about this initiative for 2 main reasons they are:-

    Traditionally any physical transformation of a shared space (a little town) causes a significant level of distress to a great percentage of the residents. Experience has shown us that unless a group has developed the trust of their community over a very long time, it is unlikely to be genuinely appreciated and valued. Doubtless most residents of any small community would have very different ideas of where this money could be best used. Given the huge cuts to TAFE and many other organisations I suspect this project will receive quite a deal of criticism.

    We’ve already done every single thing that could ever be seen as a criteria for this project for the past 20 years, we have a national, international and local artist in residence program, cover all arts practices. We’ve done major arts projects at every level, We train, auspice and mentor. We have long established interactive relationships with tertiary secondary and primary education providers in our district. We even have social engagement studios. We have been fully integrated with our community from day one. We have had extremely limited financial support for our programs and facilities – in essence we’ve just got on and done it ourselves. We are thinking that we probably verge on being ineligible.

    We couldn’t pretend that we haven’t already put our town on the map. So I guess we need some very clear guidelines about how we should approach this.

    • Thank you so much, Clive, for your honesty in this post, as well as for all the excellent work of the Cowwarr Art Space. Because Small Town Transformations can take on any form – physical, or otherwise – we’ve wanted to hear from artists and the community before finalising the framework and selection criteria, and opening applications. Following the coming weeks’ discussions on how art can transform your town, we’ll open applications and publish all documents on Monday, 14 January. Our team will offer application guidance in person, on the phone, by email, at regional forums, and every way we can – including to unsuccessful applicants. We’re committed to working with you to make the very best of this opportunity.

    • Thanks for your very prompt reply – If I were to continue to be completely honest and listed the kinds of things that would genuinely enhance our already substantial transformation of Cowwarr there would be a bunch of mundane and very practical sounding items that we simply couldn’t afford to do. Like attending to the landscaping. Repairing the roof, Investing in quality signage. Improving the facilities for both the general public and our artists in residence. And consolidating our iconic status as the entry point to our little town.

      What I notice here is that we seem a little at odds with what lots of other people are talking about, because at this stage we are omitting a clear cut wizz bang, over the top art/s project.

      As I see it, our other major stumbling block is the fact that our “not for profit” organisation CANinc is the body that the town comes to when they want to run events such as the Cowwarr Cutters Cup (racing lawn mower races!) – the major fundraiser for our CFA, not only do we auspice it but actually take a lead role in managing it. As I see it we can’t endorse ourselves for this project project – or can we?

      I think we could all learn quite a lot by sharing our thoughts about this – all the best to everyone – Clive

    • Keen to see that mower race! Applications will need to be made in partnerships, with the lead applicant being a constituted organisation, so if that doesn’t describe your organisation, you could speak to your local council or another organisation? See the Who Can Apply? page for more details. And for more detailed advice, see the Contact page. Sounds like Cowwarr’s going to have a lot of ideas, based on a great deal of sustained community creativity!

    • Hi again, this will give a bit of an idea of the Cowwarr Cutters Cup!

      Cowwarr Arts Network (CANinc) is a legally constituted body, but I suppose the real question is can Cowwarr Arts Network partner Cowwarr Art Space?

    • In the “What kind of projects will be supported” there is no mention of anything that definitely will not be supported, I think it would be good if we all knew if there were any “no go” areas.

    • Now we’re getting into the nitty gritty – wonderful! For specific advice, see the Regional Arts Victoria’s Role page, and contact the nearest staff member. We’re closing for a break around Xmas/newyear, but that gives you more thinking time…

  37. I was lucky enough to be involved (as a non-artist) in the RAV “Such Fertile Ground” project some years ago. It was great to see first hand how artists can involve the whole community and share a little of their vision with the rest of their community.

    The project I helped out on was described by those in the know as “having great artistic integrity” and led to lots of head scratching and bewilderment amongst many.

    It was undoubtedly the most rewarding community activity I have been involved in and I still think back with great fondness to the “great big x…”

    I wish the successful town all the best and hope the benefits can be spread (artistically and financially) across the whole community.

  38. Thank you RAV, what a brilliant opportunity to bring artists and community together to connect, celebrate, imagine and explore through art. Incredibly exciting and inspiring to read the coversations and the ideas percolating across Southern Grampians Shire. It has created a buzz internally and Council wants to create an opportunity for artists to share with each other, brainstorm and create visions in a space that enables us to discuss partnerships across all interested small towns. We are thinking Jan 10th, Naomi, Carolyn, Clare are you interested? At the art gallery or any other location?

  39. I have had no previous involvement with all this creativity which seems to abound in our small country towns. I lived in Natimuk (Hello, herofukutu) & watched its transformation from a climbing mecca into a self-sustaining arty throng.
    Myself & my family were recently involved with ‘The garden of earthly delights’ which used our lake here in Edenhope as a focal point and as a consequence I can see the way art can bring a community together.
    I walked along a jetty & looked at lots of little glass bottles. Each one was filled with something, sometimes something a little bit odd! Numerous very un-arty farmers that I know (in a very different context) had each filled their bottle with a little bit of something close to their hearts. There was dirt, seed, hair of their children, sheep wool, even good fresh air! Each bottle was accompanied with a little written piece explaining the significance of what was inside. Our school children had made flags decorated with drawings of the special things in our community & they helped to decorate the jetty.
    Can you imagine how fantastic it is to witness the birth of something new? I love to think that this can be built upon & we can use our natural resources & our diverse community to create something unique & special year after year.
    To inspire a non-arty community, to involve school children & the few arty individuals who have been creating in isolation year after year – that is the beauty of art in the country. (& Thank You Adele Booth).

  40. I worked with our local Romsey Community to produce a book, Moving On, full of stories and artworks from local people on how they had moved on from adversity. Contributors ranged from 18 to 80 and their stories covered everything from surviving bushfires to dealing with cancer. This project was a therapeutic experience not just for the creators but for the people they shared their stories with.

    The Macedon Ranges is full of small towns with limited public transport opportunities between them. It would be great to produce a similar project across the shire. This would bring these small communities together and allow them to share their stories. It would be great to combine this with some sort of literary/arts festival where people were given the chance to explore their creativity, share their experiences and develop new skills. This would also bring together the many local writers and illustrators.

  41. Aaron Koblin: http://www.thesheepmarket.com/ is an interesting project involving 10,000 sheep (facing left) drawn by online contributers as a comment on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) system. I can imagine an adaption of this project for a sheep farming district, displaying the results in a public artwork (etching onto bricks that pave the street etc).

  42. Edenhope has a population of 976 and is has a strong sports scene but is lacking a vibrant arts scene. I recently organised a temporary sculpture walk around Lake Wallace that involved local community groups, three schools, the kindergarten and playgroup. One section of the exhibition included bottled responses from local farmers, and another included a wishing tree with wishes from all of the children in the community. The whole town took pride in this exhibition and helped to maintain it after the storms we had. I found that creating a sense of ownership was an important part of the exhibition, and think that it would be good to have a permanent sculpture walk around Lake Wallace, with site specific installations created with participation from everyone in the community.

  43. Across the past ten or so days since we’ve got this discussion going, I’ve visited several towns around Victoria and beyond, and I’ll be making two more tours between now and the close of expressions of interest.

    I’ve heard from artists with ideas that have been hard to fund; from local government councillors and arts staff who are planning town meetings to brainstorm project ideas; from venue managers and gallery curators who’ve been waiting for just such an opportunity to turn local passions into public plans. So inspiring.

    We’ll have application forms and selection criteria up on Monday, 14 January, and expressions of interest will close on Thursday, 21 February. Over the summer, start some conversations about how art can transform your town!

  44. Tarrington has just held its third annual hay bale art competition with our largest number of entries yet. Would be great to use a program like this to get even more people in town involved by holding workshops on ‘construction’ technique, materials etc… See http://www.flickr.com/photos/75226281@N06/show/ for this years masterpieces! We’ve also been thinking about designing new entrance artworks for our town. And then there’s that decommissioned water tower we could turn into something…

  45. Blackwood (Pop 326)is in Central victoria,events have been succesful in bringing people in to towN,we lack the infrasructure to stage an event that I have been dreaming of for years i.e.Opera in the Forest,we have a wonderful natural amphitheatre which is the sport oval which would be the venue would this funding be available for an event like this? Are antiques considered in the ambit of this funding as the next destination strategy for our small village is to create an antique destination and again promotional infrastructure needs support

    • Hi Mike – great to hear from you. A project which transforms the amphitheatre into an artspace may indeed be eligible! Have a good look around this website, note our timelines, and then on Monday, 14 January 2013 we’ll open for applications and release the selection criteria. You then have until Thursday, 21 February to complete your expression of interest. Get talking among your community in the meantime!

  46. Hi
    What a fabulous opportunity for artists and small towns. Congrats RAV!
    Its about community pride and having a vision. The Gertrude St projection festival is a volunteer run community event thats grown to become a very big mid – winter outside, free street event that features large and small scale projections onto buildings, tree, pavements and walls.
    We produced a mini projection festival on King Island Tas ( pop 1200) in 2010,over 3 nights the whole island came into town.
    Have a look at http://www.thegertrudeassociation.com/index.php/our-work
    This was an islanders and artists collaboration using the community’s photos, art and musicians.

    We’d love to do as similar thing in your small town!

  47. Broken River Theatre Company (BRTC) is a new theatre company based in Benalla that has emerged from the GOTAFE Regional Academy of Dramatic Art (GRADA): an ensemble of regionally based actors and technicians that are committed to creating theatre locally with a focus on storytelling and community issues. Our graduates staged a community project in our local CWA Hall in September 2012 called MR HARCOURT COMES HOME, a documentary style verbatim theatre production written and performed by students based on interviews and stories from local residents. The production was a great success and brought the community together to celebrate our town’s history and characters. Building on this success, Broken River has been looking for an opportunity to use MR HARCOURT as a model for a new project that occurs in smaller towns in the North East of Victoria. Just like MR HARCOURT, which focused on Benalla residents, Broken River would like to seek out the stories, characters and events that have shaped smaller communities and conduct a touring project that visits, responds to, creates a script and performs this in smaller communities in our region. Narrative theatre has at its heart the process of empathy. The very experience of watching a story unfold in the theatre triggers identification, celebrates and records a verbal history, reinforces a town’s identity and provides a platform for the predominance of real life stories that have shaped a community over imagined realities. Our project begins its first authoritative step by interviewing people that live in and/or are connected to the location that the play is focused on, constructs these stories as a theatrical production using these anecdotes, tales and yarns and performs in and further responds to the architecture of a local space such as a hall or public space. The project would also be filmed from the beginning of the interview process through to devising, rehearsal and performances.
    BRTC are also seeking to create an audience through this project and to tour new work on a ongoing basis to these communities.
    We have already had conversations and offers of support from the City of Benalla as a key partner.

    • Best of luck with this project! It may be outside the scope of Small Town Transformations, but be sure to take a good look around this website and read the application form and selection criteria when they become available on Monday, 14 January 2013. It may inspire another new connection or partnership.

  48. Fantastic that people are starting to get in touch and spark new collaborations! Read on below and see how you might be able to contribute to an emerging Small Town Transformations project, or begin to develop your own.

  49. The tiny town of Balmoral in the Western Districts is percolating some ideas on which to transform our place and expand our arts scene. An Arts Precinct utilising some old historic buildings? Incorporate some studio and workshop space? Present events in the huge garden? Space enough to have the whole community out for a Big Draw? Transform main street into a visual delight to stop visitors in their tracks and keep them here a little longer? Use that old bark hut for something beautiful – installations? photography workshops? Intimate music? A place for the local community and beyond. A place to draw in the visitors. A healthy place to lift the spirits.

    • Hi Clare – sounds like Balmoral is starting off in exactly the right way: asking lots of questions! Your vision of a place for local community and beyond, and a place to lift the spirits, is admirable – and beautiful.

    • HI Clare,

      Your town sounds really interesting and ripe for a beautiful project for sure. Would you be interested in having a chat about ideas? I’m looking for a town who might need an artist/arts company from Melbourne to collaborate with locals. I’m really interested in the history of buildings and of objects, and making connections with these to the community & creating, with local community, installation & performance based works that often employ puppetry.
      What do you think?

  50. I love this small town project –
    http://www.southernforestarts.com.au/

    It not only revitalised a town but healed a rift in the community –

    ‘The small town of Northcliffe was one of the main focal points for tension between conservationists and the timber industry, with the many issues surrounding the debate causing great conflict between families and friends.

    The idea of developing a permanent art trail within a section of local forest as a community-managed eco-tourism initiative was just one of many proposals put forward during that time as a possible means to improving the long-term sustainability of the region.

    The Understory concept has always been ‘grass roots’. Grounded in the local community it reflects the local community. Therefore, before any concrete planning commenced there was lengthy consultation in many forms with as many different types of people possible. This encouraged a sense of community connection and ownership right from the outset.’
    (from the website)

    Check it out to see the beautiful ‘transformative’ outcome.

  51. Agree! (with first comment) – Candy Chang is genius! Check her out. Beautiful transformative ideas. So much buzz about this project. Queries from all round. Ideas will be incubated over Christmas I can tell.

  52. Take a look at the website of Candy Chang http://www.candychang.com

    “She is an artist who believes in the potential of introspection and collective wisdom in public space to improve communities and ourselves. By combining public art with civic engagement and personal well-being, she has been recognized for exploring strategies for the design of our cities in order to live our best lives.”

    You may find some inspiration here for our cities, regional centres and towns.

  53. As reknowned arts researcher AlanBrown says “monuments to culture are important symbolic vessels of community pride … But since culture is always changing so too should its monuments”.

    With this in mind APACA believes that the focus of arts centres needs to be on the people and programs that happen in, around and through a centre, beyond sitting in the dark for a couple of hours every now and then.

    • Great to hear from the Australian Performing Arts Centres’ Association! Around this Small Town Transformations site, we talk about the importance of the places where art is made, experienced, talked about. It’d be wonderful to hear from some of our smaller and volunteer-run venues in imagining artistic transformations for their towns.

  54. So exciting and some great comments and ideas already. More than happy to help others develop up their proposals and explore that’s possible! Find us at thelocalexperience.com.au

  55. I feel like we are all living the Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory dream .. and there are five gold passes out there…

    • - Except unlike at Wonka’s, we all get to come together and to talk and plan how art will transform our towns! The new collaborations and partnerships that are formed along the way will have their own creative legacies…

  56. I am from a tiny town in Victoria called Kerrie on the back of Mt Macedon. There was a one room school with 6 children and one teacher and the Hesket hall where the local dance and raffle was held once a month. The school had an end of year theatrical performance which was fabulous with an audience of around 15. I went to High school by bus 36 miles away in Kyneton which at that time had a population of 3,000. It had the highest suicide rate of young male teens not long after I left for University at Rusden State College to study Drama and Dance. I now live in Sydney and have worked at the Australia Council, Art Gallery of NSW and many other cultural organisations creating programs. I founded Culture at Work a nfp that builds programs through the arts and science with a focus on creativity. I think this new initiative is fabulous. Making meaning and engaging cultural communities is the way to go. Its a long time coming! Mind you I did see an exhibition of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele original works on paper in the Kyneton Town Hall in 1978. That was my first experience with original masterpieces.
    I guess it was in hindsight incredibly influential along with the wonderful art and drama teachers at the high school! They were always the backbone of country culture…….

  57. I grew up in a small town, and when I was 15 Ash Wednesday fires went through. It was such a formative, life changing event. I remember seeing the effects on people and hearing the stories – SO many stories! I wish I was the adult artist I am now, and could go back in time to gather these stories and work with the community in creating something substantial to give place, grace, and landmark to that event.

    With my Melbourne-based theatre company, we had the privilege of doing a fantastic community work in Wangaratta in 2009. My job was to collect stories from the community – to uncover the heart of the community. I gathered the stories through objects that people treasured – an old bible brought on a ship in the 1800’s, a nut loaf tin, a lucky coin etc. With the theatre-arts company I direct, we then created art-installations using some of these stories. The installation was up for a few days, and then the community performed within the installation, telling their own stories through puppetry (we did a whole lot of community workshops as a part of the project). It was so beautiful, and so successful! It worked because the community was engaged wholly from the outset – young and old.

    I love what RAV are proposing. This initiative is so important for our towns and our communities. I am so excited to see what comes of this initiative – What an endeavor and what exploration!

  58. The small town of Toora, (population around 450) in South Gippsland, is currently “waiting” for a new Dairy Project to come to fruition, to provide new employment opportunities and a “lift in spirits” after the former Bonlac Milk factory closed some 12 years ago, as well as the Abbottoir in nearby Foster!
    With the current development of new Parkland on the former railway land in the town it would be great that some of the beautification ideas could come to fruition, such as the continued erection of plaques with historical information in the newly developing area, an Oriental Garden paying homage to early pioneers, some indigenous artwork honouring the past inhabitants, totem poles painted by the local school children, revitalisation of the current painted poles in the main street of the town by local artists, erection of more seating and planter boxes in the main shopping area to lift the streetscape, mosaic panels in the footpaths, a sculpture trail in the new parkland, and more!
    What a wonderful opportunity for all the local community to get together and become involved in further beautifying our small township (it already has a number of excellent amenities for its size).

  59. I have a big dream of creating a creative hub within my town of Newstead. I want to make a space with a large variety of spaces within that for plenty of different mediums to be workshopped and our already extremely creative population can run workshops to the rest of the community to build skills and community alike.

    Along side this I would love to start a seasonal artists market in Newstead that can be also utilised by local community groups for fundraising as well as local farmers and producers. This has been my dream for a few years. I would l would love to see it realised!

  60. So great to hear all of the ideas! Our RAV office is buzzing with excitement about it all and our Regional Arts Development Officers working in regional Victoria have already received numerous enquiries from communities asking about Small Town Transformation. Keep the conversations coming!

  61. Our town already has a significant art focus and the community art is growing all the time. We have some permanent flood protection structures attached to the town bridge in the middle of town and it has been suggested that we have our local mosaic artist design and tile them. I think they would look sensational and build on our current portfolio. Funding such as RAV for such a project would be a fantastic oportunity for us to make this happen.

    • Also a nice big bold project, Wayne! Gather some people together and discuss it further, thinking about how that would have a transformative impact on the entire town, and what its legacy might be. As a small town transformation, how would this be different from a mosaic project? How might people participate? Lots to think about as you start developing those ideas!

  62. I love the power of art. I’ve always had a dream in my town of Donald in being able to address one of our big issues through art. We need a new Kinder, Maternal and Child Health Centre and long day care.
    Through my research into this matter I have come to discover that while the building is so very important, it actually goes beyond that to the isolation felt by families with small children, especially those on farms and the general need for an injection of inspiration and enthusiasm needed for this demographic.
    So, I often dream of my big idea – a children’s art day en-masse. Kids from everywhere coming to the park to paint, get dirty, make up plays, sing, sculpt, create, imagine…the list is endless.
    It would be about saying to the rest of the world, “our kids ARE important and incredible”. It would be amazing fun, parents would get ideas to use at home when they run out of ‘what to do ideas’, it would create spin-off groups as interests develop.
    Young and old would be involved, but it would be about the kids, the whole town watching the kids’ creativeness unravel.
    It would create conversations about how we can offer better parent support, it would attract attention for the funding needed for our new centre.
    It would become and annual kid’s craft extravaganza like nothing else around where kids come from everywhere to our town to unleash their creativeness without fear of boundaries, spilt paint or handprints on the wall. Plus, how amazing would it look to see 100 kids painting on easels in a park? That’s my idea on how art would transform our town.

    • Hi Rose,

      some great ideas there. A transformative artistic project that’s for children is a fantastic starting point for further discussions – both here, and within your community. Spaces for children, projects for children… I could also imagine a facilitated project where children were guided in developing a proposal for the town! Keep those good ideas coming…

    • I’ve seen some great ideas for ‘mud kitchens’ too Rose. How cool would the world’s biggest mud kitchen be (although city kids probably need mud play more than farm kids!)

    • I am loving this discussion, it is great to get all those ideas which I often dream about out and read other people’s dreams for their communities. A proposal for the town developed by children, that sounds amazing. And the world’s biggest mud kitchen, now that would put us on the map.

      Thank you so much for your feedback.

      I have been looking through the examples too and noticed the Avoca Project. I was involved in the Rehearsing Catastrophe project (I am the well disguised dog with the small lion on my hip). That was such an amazing project to be a part of, it is exciting to think we could transform our own little town like this.

  63. Inspiring – already we’ve got ideas across story-telling, film-making, melas and mountain-climbing! All of these bring people together with landscape, hospitality, collaboration. It would be hard to imagine a Small Town Transformation without some element of these…

    • I’m from Melbourne, and an artist running a company that would LOVE to be engaged in a project in a small town, especially where the town has a calling to create stories – told in visual art installation, puppetry, and music, and that engages the whole community. I would love to something where we engage the young people with older people: gathering history from a town, centred on a theme of meaning to the town. For example, where I grew up (a tiny town called Clematis), we were in the community effected by the Ash Wednesday bushfires – I remember as a kid all the stories from the fires, and I wonder what happened to these stories. I wish I’d been the artist I am now, and had been able to help give these stories place.
      With my company (Barking Spider Visual Theatre) we did a community work in Wangaratta in 2009 that really did uncover and explore the stories of that community. We found the heartbeat – and we created a beautiful work with that community. It was one of the works I am most proud of as an artist.

      This is such a fantastic initiative of RAV’s, and I’m so excited for all the people in small towns who will have the opportunity to pick up and run with this initiative.

  64. Also, I have found community “Melas” and cultural festivals celebrating cultural diversity in the UK through music, food, theatre, dance and many more artforms highly effective in bringing communities together. The best way to find further information on the range of community melas is to visit the BBC Asian Network: http://www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork/events/melas/2012/
    Having moved from the UK almost four years ago, I still haven’t found a Mela in Australia!! It would be a great opportunity to develop one!

    • Hi Freda – our little town has been hosting a monthly cultural meal throughout 2012. With a pop around 205, the initial Polish meal attracted 20+ diners – by November, when we celebrated with a Thanksgiving meal, we were attracting 60+. Each meal is prepared by a small group of volunteers, and some background is given about the country, traditions and culture, music and conversation is enjoyed by all. In 2013 the program will continue, with every month already allocated a country to ‘present’ and the regulars chaffing at the bit to have them start again. A “mela” in the mallee?

  65. Working with professional film makers and photography to create “stories” about the lives and experiences, of members of the community in some towns where there is a lack of social cohesion, for various reasons. We have delivered projects of this kind with phenomenal results which can inspire people in many ways to interact within their town / neighbourhood more effectively using creative mediums- especially film making. The stories / short films were showcased at mainstream venues including an IMAX cinema in the UK and further projected onto community “Big Screens” (as in Federation Square) . Recording their stories and experiences in this way has proven to promote social cohesion and break down barriers in communication across culturally diverse groups.

  66. Nati Frinj is a great example – wonderful to meet you all at Kumuwuku! – and indeed, the Premier mentions it in his Small Town Transformations statement. Tell us more about what small towns can learn from your experience?

    • At the risk of being boring I could offer some points about why Natimuk has been successful.
      •It has a number of people who have moved there from other areas. A Queensland study on small town recovery noted factors like professionals moving in, people who had lived in larger cities, people who had travelled widely, and other factors that Natimuk has.
      •Fortunately some of those that came have been exceptionally creative.
      •It is therefore an alternative community, with alternative ideas, without being too hippieish.
      • I have been told that Natimuk has a very high per-capita Green vote. Despite being in the safest National Party Seat (federally and state).
      •A lot of people, often young, from all around the world, come to climb at Arapiles, which keeps the community vibrant.
      •The art has been audacious and courageous, and often spelt wrong.
      •The art has been influenced by the community.
      •Just because Natimuk is in a regional area, however, does not mean that the artists should only do community art.
      •The Nati Frinj has been a very supportive environment in which to make art. If you have a stupid idea, people will support you, as long as you take ownership of the idea.
      •This has led some people, who didn’t previously consider themselves artists, stepping up. Home-grown artists have been inspired as well.
      •Some of the people in town, whilst perhaps not considering themselves creative, have put enormous energy into supporting those that are, and the concept of Nati as a creative space.
      •The Council have been supportive. Horsham is only 25km away and supplies most of Natimuk’s service and employment needs.
      •These thoughts are mine and not necessarily that of Natimuk.

    • Hey Hero F… you Too
      Love Natimuk. All you say is very true. There is some amazing sculptures in your town square. Now that’s art that certainly tranfsormed your town. I believe it’s installation was quite contraversial. Anyway I know quite a few people who have visited your town just to see it, after reading about it the newspaper. This is probaby a very minor example of what this whole program is about.

  67. It’s hard to create (in that you need to have a world class cliff in your backyard) but the groupd of climbers and/or high quality artists who have moved into the small Wimmera hamlet of Natimuk over the last three decades have transformed the place into a creative hub. There is a great deal of community pride in the arts community and the very cool bienniale Nati Frinj festival. There is a lot to learnt from this town’s experience.

    • Regional cities are organ-like centres around which rural towns are the nodes of connection and connection has an arbitrarily determined reach, often measured in time or kms travelled and/or the the vehicle of choice, feet, bike, car, horse..so too, there need to be nodules along the connective ’tissue’ between nodes, as articulating points of access to the flow of cultural dialogue, of outlying lives.

      Just as once there were Cities (too far away) and then regional centres of commerce and then radial hubs of about 15- 27 kms in distance where fresh horses could be found and settlement was possible with adequate communication and supplies of sustenance. So to today, even with satellite and wireless communications, we are craving the placedness of unique landscape, identity and community. A certain yearning exists, to be facilitated into a meaningful contemporary dialogue with food, farming, earning, working, being, buying, making and getting our needs met in an exchange with each other and our place.

      Culture making at nodular points in a web across the state is the key measure to healthy culturally functional landscapes. The nodules are the new centre! This project seems to celebrate the nodules.

      “Small Town Transformations” also makes me wonder if we have really moved on greatly with all our technology, especially in the places where connection to the source, the great sphere of the earth, made small by our own scale, invites us, or rather compels us to localise and to resist tribalism in favour of a grassroots cosmopolitanism. An unnervingly fragile social capital, is growing that bridges in the the wide eyed worldly and blends and bends this around the traditional and earthy wise.

      Places like Natimuk (Herofukutu) and Tarrington (Naomi Turner) are nodules connecting the truly rural, scatted folk, many of whom may not travel to participate in the cultural dialogues as far away as the nodes of Horsham and Hamilton or the centres of Ballarat, Warrnambool and, least of all Melbourne. Yet, in their safe and diversifying nodules they are bravely facing what it is to be connected and connecting in a time of competing imagery, identity, dialogue and ‘placenessness’. Those that step up and declare themselves as the home grown artist variety, bad spelling and all, have the honour of nodular development. They pump the life fluid into the system of regional connectivity.

      A nodular place by the name of Byaduk may also be looking to pump a little more energy into the system of regional connectivity.

    • Carolyn, I thought you were Byaduk’s pump of energy! Seriously though… I love that you can actually buy a duck at Byaduk. Think we might have even sold some ducks at Byaduk once. What about a duck sculpture competition – with entries displayed on the highway?

    • Hey Naomi there’s some fancy pumping going on in your neck of the woods. Which bale creation of magnificence were you ‘behind’? Did you also put the images on flickr? great idea.
      Its stunning how lateral and seriously creative the sculptures have become and how quickly the theme has broadened in only a few short years. Its a testament to whom ever promotes and encourages the event, its open, inclusive and a serious out of the ordinary attraction.

      So ducks…. what about stenciled lines of ducks across the highway? At least people would slow down long enough to notice the town..

      Actually no sounds a bit dangerous.

      If you’re serious about percolating some ideas of transformation, I’d love to catchup this weekend and toss around a few hay bales and duck?

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