18 September 2020

River of Art begins to flow, splashing colour and renewal

| Sharon Kelley
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Di Jay standing next to mural as part of River of Art festival.

Di Jay with one of the murals completed as part of the River of Art festival, which is set to bring colour and vibrancy to the NSW South Coast. Photo: Kim Treasure.

The River of Art festival runs from Friday, 18 September to Sunday, 27 September, and is an annual celebration that brings colour and renewal to the NSW South Coast, from Durras to Bermagui.

The festival, which honours the South Coast’s creative arts scene, has been challenged by COVID-19 but not defeated by it, and still features many of the event’s popular highlights.

“Kicking off the festival on Friday afternoon will be the announcement of this year’s River of Art Prize,” said the festival’s co-chair, Di Jay.

“While we have to abide by COVID-19 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,” she said. “This year is no different.”

READ ALSO Permanent large-scale murals to become part of River of Art Festival

The festival’s official opening will be held at the Basil Sellers Exhibition Centre in Moruya later in the day (on 18 September) but, again, because of COVID-19 restrictions, those people 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’ve been able to hold the festival,” said River of Art co-chair Vicki Lascelles.

“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 new event REVIVE. Six murals depicting the festival’s theme will be painted during the course of the event in Batemans Bay, Moruya, Narooma and Tilba Tilba.

“People will be able to watch the murals emerge from the blank walls and artists’ paintbrushes,” said Ms Jay. “And we’ll be filming them so you can follow their progress on our website.”

READ ALSO Resilient River of Art to run in September this year

A longstanding favourite of the festival, Open Studios, will include 18 galleries and studios opening to visitors, from Batehaven to Bermagui.

Art on Parade will feature shops as venues to show off art from the South Coast 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 during the River of Art 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-see list,” said Ms Lascelles.

The full festival program can be found on the River of Art website.

River of Art is funded by the NSW Government through Destination NSW and Eurobodalla Shire Council.

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