A GRANT from Regional Arts Victoria is allowing the people of Neerim South to get together and get creative.
Having been awarded the Small Towns Transformations grant last year for the construction of a large roadside sculpture modelled after the nest of a bower bird, the Neerim District Progress Association has held a number of artistic activities for the community.
Keeping to the theme of “inspired by birds,” locals have produced ceramic birds for the Neerim South Wetlands, scarecrows, mosaics, linocut artwork and more.
Association president Neville Cousins told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen the arts programs had been popular and were bringing the community together.
“The main thing is that we’re getting the groups into town together to help us with this big project,” he said.
“We’re getting a good response. We’ve conducted about 25 workshops so far: mosaics, which has been very popular, jewellery, and we’re now filling up workshops for the spring series.
“The whole idea of these workshops is that most of this work will be exhibited in the [Neerim Bower Arts Festival], which will run [in] October.
“That weekend is the beginning of our whole event. It’s a big art festival that will be run in this town that will be made up of school children exhibiting work, a major sculpture competition [with] a $10,000 prize and more.
“On that same weekend we will be opening the bower, which is being constructed at the moment in Warragul.
“It will be put up in around mid-September and opened on 26 October by the Minister for the Arts.
“The festival itself will be made up of a lot of fun and games, including a battle of the bands competition, …a lot of food stalls, and art workshops, so we’re looking forward to a very good weekend.”
The most recent workshop was scarecrow creation, which was held last weekend.
“This is a community engagement process,” Mr Cousins said.
“We are determined to use art to get the community together, strengthen it and have fun together.
“The good thing is we’re getting the children working with the adults.
“But also we have another project down at the local hospital which is one for the seniors. We’ve employed an art therapist down there who is working with people who have Parkinson’s, dementia, and their work will also be exhibited.”