23 August 2022

Queanbeyan region welcomed with open arms back into Southern Tablelands Arts

| Claire Fenwicke
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Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council has rejoined the Southern Tablelands Arts family. Photo: QPRC.

The Queanbeyan region’s creatives now have access to a statewide program designed to support their arts and deliver their projects to a wider community.

After a two-and-a-half year hiatus, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) has rejoined Southern Tablelands Arts (STA).

It’s much to the delight of STA executive director Rose Marin.

“When they left us [in early 2020], it’s like they pulled out a piece of who we are,” she said.

“The way the arts work, there are no hard lines at borders or boundaries, so it was like an important part of our jigsaw was missing.

“We literally feel whole again.”

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The STA is one part of the statewide network of Regional Arts Development Organisations, covering seven local government areas: Wollondilly, Wingecarribee, Goulburn-Mulwaree, Upper Lachlan, Hilltops, Yass Valley and now Queanbeyan-Palerang.

It was designed to energise creative industries by supporting, creating, educating and advocating for creatives and arts initiatives across the region.

The STA can direct state-funded grants to their members and provided a platform for artists to connect, advertise exhibitions and competitions, and support new programs.

“Often creatives need to look beyond their local government area … so we’ve been connecting people with art galleries in Bowral or festivals in the Hilltops region,” Ms Marin said.

“It’s a tough old gig being a creative, so we need to stick together.”

She said particularly in the wake of the pandemic, local creatives needed their support now more than ever.

“The sector was rocked to its foundations,” Ms Marin said.

“People have been doing it tough, there is a bit of pain there, but people are elated.”

Ms Marin had people reaching out via text and Instagram the night council made the decision to rejoin the STA, and she envisioned “lots of cups of tea and bickies” in her future as she travelled throughout the region to let people know just how the STA could help them.

“It’s a credit to the amazing community of creatives [that this happened] … they never lost sight of being part of the system and kept it on the agenda,” she said.

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QPRC Mayor Kenrick Winchester said the move marked an “exciting time” to be an artist in the region.

“This relationship will help us support our vibrant arts community and create a range of opportunities for residents and visitors alike,” he said.

The STA Reconnect program will travel the region to inform people about the network and for creatives to share their ideas and upcoming projects:

  • Rusten House Art Centre, 87 Collett St, Queanbeyan, 10 am to 1 pm on 24 August
  • Braidwood Council Chambers, 144 Wallace St, 10 am to 1 pm, 5 September
  • Bungendore Council Chambers, 10 Majara St, 10 am to 1 pm, 6 September
  • Captains Flat Community Hall, 53 Foxlow St, 10 am to 1pm, 12 September

At the sessions residents can learn how to access Country Arts Support Program grants, the STA artist-in-residence program, exhibition and competition opportunities, and become listed on the STA Creative Directory.

Creatives can also become an STA member for free.

Ms Marin said she couldn’t wait to get started.

“In the arts sector, we see boundaries less and less, what we see is coming together and creating communities,” she said.

“I’m so excited to help small creative businesses pull people into the area to explore our extraordinary region.”

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