River of Art, the annual celebration of the South Coast’s creative arts, kicks off on Friday to splash Spring colour and renewal from Durras to Bermagui.
Challenged but not defeated by COVID-19, this year’s festival which runs from Friday 18 to Sunday 27 September, still features many of the favourite highlights.
“Kicking off the festival on Friday afternoon will be the announcement of this year’s River of Art Prize,” explained Di Jay, festival co-chair.
“While we have to abide by the COVID restrictions, we’re still able to have a small ceremony to announce the winner of our art prize which always attracts a fantastic range of entries. This year is no different,” she added.
The festival’s official opening will be held at the Basil Seller Exhibition Centre in Moruya later in the day but again because of COVID restrictions, those able to attend are by invitation only.
“Even though we’ve had to keep the number to just 20 for the opening, what’s fantastic is that we’re been able to hold the festival,” said Vicki Lascelles, also co-chair.“If ever there was a time for a festival of arts, this is it. Our region has been so badly affected this year by the devastating fires, then floods and now a pandemic. We all need this celebration. That’s why our theme this year is resilience and renewal.”
Highlights of this year’s festival include a brand new event, REVIVE. Six murals, depicting the festival’s theme will be painted over the course of the festival in Bateman’s Bay, Moruya, Narooma and Tilba Tilba.
“People will be able to watch the murals emerge from the blank walls and artists’ paintbrushes,” Di said. “And we’ll be filming them so you can follow their progress on our website.”
A longstanding favourite of the festival, Open Studios, will be a top attraction, with a total of 18 galleries and studios from Batehaven to Bermagui open to visitors.Art on Parade is another very popular feature with shops providing the venues to show off the art from our region. Twenty shops up and down the coast are involved in this year’s event offering another way to discover Eurobodalla’s creative side.
A number of art exhibitions featuring fabrics and ceramics through to photographs will also be open over the festival.
“To help people create their own festival art trail, our website has been redesigned making it easy to spot favourites among the Open Studios, exhibitions and Art on Parade and add them to the “must” list,” Vicki said. The full program can be found on www.riverofart.com.au .