Over the past couple of months I’ve been in some fairly intense discussions with fellow artists across the region working out the framework for a new peer support network for contemporary artists in Central West NSW. Things are coming together now and proving to be very exciting. We’ve established a website and are in the process of recruiting artists to join us.
As an artist based in Dubbo with an interest in digital media and installation I have long been frustrated by the lack of local support and higher level professional development opportunities to continue pushing my practice in new directions. I’ve been a founder and member of a regional collective of artists, but when my practice veered on to a different path, the earlier support fell away. I have friends in other parts of the region who are likewise frustrated and feeling somewhat isolated in the process. So we decided to do something about it.
The Regional Contemporary Art Network was born and things are starting to take shape for what will be an interesting year ahead – full of art making, learning and dialogue that explores what it means to be a contemporary artist practicing in a non-urban environment.
As an aside, my friend Heidi Lefebvre and I recently explored the concept of what contemporary art is with a class of Year 11 art students, with whom we hope to continue working with in coming months*. For me at least, it is art that evokes a response – good, bad or ugly. I’m particularly interested in the researching of concepts and exploring available technologies to communicate my ideas. Contemporary art connects with its past as a foundation for pushing boundaries in thinking about where we are today. Online technology now makes it easier to connect with communities of interest and to showcase our work as artists (to a degree) – something I expect R-CAN will use to its advantage. The key to our connection will be connectivity.
For more information about the network check out our new website and read the blog
* Heidi will be writing about this experience for the R-CAN blog