Our Partnerships Coordinator Edwina Guinness reflects upon this month’s regional Arts Grants Information Sessions.
I don’t know what I expected when we set out for our Arts Grants Information Tour. This was unknown territory for me, and despite weeks of planning, it felt like the entire trip was held together on a wing and a prayer. Jumping in a car with a bunch of strangers could be a recipe for disaster. Luckily for me I had excellent company – the ever knowledgeable Fiona Beckwith and her compatriots Kaushali Seneviratne and Kate Bailey from Creative Victoria, the equally brilliant Jo Simpson from the Australia Council for the Arts, not to mention local insider and fellow Regional Arts Victoria accomplice Tim Dakin.
We started out in Orbost where the woodwork filled Exhibition Gallery played host, detoured in Bairnsdale to visit the East Gippsland Gallery and the Foundry (a shop so filled with local delights no-one left without a little something), sojourned in Sale where the Creative Victoria team scored us a guided tour of the brand new Gippsland Art Gallery (which is fabulous), landed in Leongatha in time for tea and a chat, and last but not least found ourselves in Cowes where the beautiful views made up for the mad dash back to the airport.
Everywhere we went we were welcomed with open arms. People told us about their plans, eager, full of smiles and hope and loads of potential. It was wonderful to be able to have these conversations face to face. To sit in a room with different community groups, artists and the people who administer the funding and listen to conversations cross this way and that until a new connection is made and a solution found.
Pure gold. I can’t wait to do it all again, to head off in a different direction, meet new people and tell them about the opportunities that lie in wait.