Following an intensive application and shortlisting process, Regional Arts Victoria congratulates the six small Victorian towns who will each receive $350,000 for a significant artistic project with lasting legacy as part of the Victorian Government’s Small Town Transformations initiative.

After an exciting period of discussion, research and sharing of ideas within small towns of less than 2,000 people across the state, 73 inspiring projects from 71 towns were put forward for assessment by an independent selection panel. 14 towns were shortlisted, and now we look forward to the six successful transformations commencing in August with projects to be completed by October 2018.

Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley announced today that the six towns selected for Small Town Transformations are:

  • Bass Coast Waterline Townships – from Pioneer Bay to Coronet Bay – for their project The Edge of Us
  • Birregurra – for their project enLIGHTen Me: I Have a Hall in my Heart
  • Girgarre – for their project Girgarre Revival: The Sound of Our Spirit Rising
  • Lake Tyers Beach – for their project FLOAT
  • Narrawong – for their project Kang-o-Meerteek
  • Rainbow – for their project The Oasis: Creativity on the Edge of the Desert

Read Minister Foley's media release here.

“Six towns are about to embark on an ambitious adventure that puts artistic practice at the centre of their community life” said Esther Anatolitis, Director Regional Arts Victoria. “With thanks to the Victorian Government, the funds that support Small Town Transformations projects are substantial. And yet transformation itself is priceless. It begins with a set of conversations that bring people together – often for the very first time. It’s sustained by passion, dedication and trust. And it’s committed to a lifetime and more of the kind of cultural change that constantly renews a community’s inspirations. Cultural change is generative, creative collaboration is empowering, and transformation is priceless.”

We also congratulate the towns shortlisted to the final application stage: Barmah, Donald, Elmore, Heywood, Longwood, Maldon, San Remo and King Valley.

The Small Town Transformations program is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s $20 million Regional Arts Package in the 2015-16 State Budget.

Regional Arts Victoria presented the inaugural Small Town Transformations project on behalf of the Victorian Government from 2012 to 2014. This resulted in the creative transformation of Avoca, Dookie, Natimuk, Neerim South and Ouyen, five small towns that are continuing to benefit from the long term legacy of the Small Town Transformations initiative.

Small Town Transformations is a Victorian Government Initiative.

bass coast Waterline Townships
from Pioneer Bay to Coronet Bay

The Edge of us

The Edge of Us brings together the five Bass Coast Waterline townships of Pioneer Bay, Grantville, Tenby Point, Corinella and Coronet Bay to enter the zone between land and sea for a once-in-a-lifetime project exploring the impermanence of their habitation on the edge.

With night, the tides and renewable light forms at its centre, the project features a performance across a whole tidal cycle which begins on the mudflats and includes (cut ‘floating’)  light sculptures on a flotilla of tinnies, a set of permanent tide-triggered light emitting structures, an outdoor gallery of light and a Luminous Streets project in front yards.

The Edge of Us will shape light and renewable power into a new accessible medium for two years of direct creative engagement with residents and visitors to bring light to streets, the water and the environment as a means to collectively reimagine the local landscape. Driven by artist, Jessica Wilson with local creative Jeannnie Haughton, this project will be designed and assembled by participants across all five townships, connecting each with their common landscape. 

Project website
Project Facebook page

enLIGHTen Me: I Have a Hall in my Heart

enLIGHTen Me: I have a Hall in my Heart. Image by Tim Lucas and Fiona Brandscheid. Courtesy and © Birregurra Community Arts Group.

enLIGHTen Me: I have a Hall in my Heart. Image by Tim Lucas and Fiona Brandscheid. Courtesy and © Birregurra Community Arts Group.

Birregurra is braced to erupt with a spectacle of light. Armed with a vision of contemporary art and visual storytelling, the community will embark on a journey to transform their idle Mechanics Institute Hall from a shrinking violet into a thriving arts and cultural asset pulsing with energy and inventiveness.

enLIGHTen Me: I Have a Hall in my Heart is a transformational project that will re-frame the hall and other spaces as places of creative and connective possibility.

In collaboration with visual artist Craig Walsh and theatre maker Gorkem Acaroglu – both renowned for their site-responsive artworks – enLIGHTen Me examines Birregurra’s relationship with their hall through a two year process of arts development.

Culminating in a weekend long public celebration of immersive contemporary art, the project ultimately bestows the town with the tools and drive to propel their hall into an enduring hive of artistic and cultural activity.

Project website
Project Facebook page

Girgarre Revival: The Sound of Our Spirit Rising 

From the Dirt, Girgarre Community gather on the site of the planned Soundshell, photo by Serana Hunt. 

From the Dirt, Girgarre Community gather on the site of the planned Soundshell, photo by Serana Hunt. 

The Girgarre Revival will lift the town's spirit and create an audible and lasting identity for the town and its residents.

People from across the district and state will explore common ground and connection to place through sound while also developing new skills and fostering talents in sound expression.

The project will feature works developed by the people of Girgarre in collaboration with internationally renowned artists. Leading electronic sound and light artist Robin Fox will create temporary interactive installations and there will be a world-premiere performance of a new composition led by composer and musical director Graeme Leak.

The community will develop their skills through a series of artist-led sound, language and performance workshops, focused on the transformation of salvaged materials into musical instruments and sound installations which will be used to form a community orchestra.

To support these activities, the town hall will undergo a revitalisation with the installation of new quilted acoustic sound curtains created by the Girgarre Quilters in collaboration with quilter, teacher and curator Gloria Loughman. 

The Girgarre Revival will culminate in the creation of the Gargarro Soundshell – an exciting new outdoor performance space and a lasting legacy celebrating the audible sound of a community spirit rising. 

Project website
Project Facebook page


Night Sky at Lake Tyers Beach, photo by Scott Kingman

Night Sky at Lake Tyers Beach, photo by Scott Kingman

FLOAT will be an arts studio for lake-loving artists-in-residence, floating on Lake Tyers.

Creating a place where new conversations can begin, FLOAT will be an artist-made space for observing stars, navigating nature, making art, and telling stories on FLOAT-FM – a tinkerer’s radio station.

From this flotilla of creativity, a year-long artistic program, collaborating closely with the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust, will produce a seasonal Almanac by which to guide the creative traveller to Art Camp – a community-made camping enterprise based on creativity, stewardship and sharing.

FLOAT will make art that responds to the environment, culture and history of Lake Tyers. It will bring global attention to the community’s environmental challenges, and the power of art to lead positive change.

The project will culminate in a Future Forum – a gathering of minds reflecting on the journey and providing a platform for long-lasting transformative planning.

Project website
Project Facebook page


Feeding the fire on Mt Clay, Narrawong. Model Tahlia Warren Brand Photo Cat Bailey 2016

Feeding the fire on Mt Clay, Narrawong. Model Tahlia Warren Brand Photo Cat Bailey 2016

Kang-o-Meerteek is Dhauwurd Wurrung language meaning ‘mountain to sea’. The Kang-o-Meerteek project will link two permanent public art installations that will signal to each other from Mt Clay to the Narrawong Community Reserve, where the Surrey River meets the Southern Ocean.

These artworks will transform intergenerational identity, culture and spaces in the landscape through innovative design and landscaping; re-imagining and reinterpreting indigenous stories and responding to place. Kang-o-Meerteek will encourage dialogue, shape connectivity and strengthen identity through the artistic exploration of heritage and culture.

The project will develop with workshop activities, live artworks and a community launch event. Kang-o-Meerteek aims to ignite passion for the arts across generations, to realise future art projects and draw people to Narrawong as a place of real interest.

Project website
Project Facebook page

The Oasis: Creativity on the Edge of the Desert

The town of Rainbow, photo by Dianne Dickson

The town of Rainbow, photo by Dianne Dickson

The Oasis will reinvent a historic school building and grounds into a community space that reflects upon the landscape, ancestral cultures and local narrative. The site is located between the Rainbow gallery, silo and school building to form the centre of an integrated complex for community recreation and creative activity.

The complex will be activated by a three-stage artistic program of collaborative workshops and events that explore environmental, spiritual and narrative aspects of Rainbow and its surrounding area. This Oasis will draw upon important histories from Aboriginal groups, new cultures from visiting South-East Asian artists and local narratives from the past and present.

From this unique project the remote yet eccentric desert township of Rainbow will be transformed into a fertile and inclusive hub for creativity and connectedness.

Project website
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