River of Art festival program to feature 120 events

Heidi Hula Hoops will perform at the Narooma Kinema. Picture supplied.
Heidi Hula Hoops will perform at the Narooma Kinema. Picture supplied.

Get ready to dive into the deep and wide program of 120 individual events on offer at the River of Art festival from May 17 to 27.

Open art studios, Kinema Kaberet, artists in conversation, Japanese drumming, dance classes, film screenings and musical performances are some events on offer.

The festival will flow over rivers and down the coastline of the Eurobodalla from north to south, Durras to Tilba, showcasing talent from within and beyond the region.

The program has just been released and is available at libraries and on the festival website. So, festival-goers can start planning where to go and what to see on this year's art trail.

"Its huge, its colourful and it will surprise, delight and inspire you," said co-chairs, Robin Scott-Charlton and Di Jay.

"We have tried to bring you something new, quirky and fresh this year plus all the regular festival events loved by the local community and those visiting the festival from out of town."

Wendy Sharpe, one of Australia's most awarded and accomplished artists, will officially open the festival and the "River of Dreams" exhibition at the Basil Sellers Exhibition Centre (the BAS).

"We really want the community to get on board and join us for some fine art and fun at our opening celebration, at 6:30pm on 17 May at the BAS," Ms Jay said.

"That evening in Moruya, Splinters, the woodworking group will open their exhibition at the Mechanics Institute and you can see the CIA (Comrades in Art) exhibition at the Air Raid Tavern," Ms Scott-Charlton said.

"We expect people will then want to stay in town for a bite to eat and wander the streets checking out Art on Parade."

The 2019 Art Trail includes almost 30 Open Studios where you can meet artists in their own spaces and see or purchase their work. A further 30 artists have partnered with local businesses to be part of Art on Parade, showcasing their work in shopfronts. Take the kids and map out your own trail.

"We are really pleased to see more music and performers featuring this year," Ms Scott-Charlton said.

"Listen to visiting soprano, Celeste Haworth, enjoy the guitar work of Daniel Champagne, or see Chris McGrath perform to mention just a few. Over 17 musical events will have your feet tapping."

"Make sure you don't miss out on Kinema Kabaret, a wild, wonderful and witty, burlesque, circus and cabaret show. Performers are all at the top of their game and have performed at fringe festivals and circus events across the country," said Ms Jay.

"Pre-show drinks at SOART, cocktails at The Whale Inn or supper afterwards will make for a Narooma night to remember."

'Artists in Conversation' is a new program addition this year. This gives festival-goers an opportunity to hear artists talk about their work and indulge in local produce prepared artfully by some of our best local chefs.

Archibald prize winner, Wendy Sharpe is in Conversation at The River restaurant, Moruya on Sunday, 19 May. Let Wendy beguile with her stories of painting in Sydney, Paris, Antarctica, East Timor and Morocco, drawing and painting the Australian Ballet, a residency at Circus Oz and more. Book now!

Meet Graham Fransella in Conversation at the Sandbar, Batemans Bay, on Saturday, 25 May. Graham is a four-time winner of the Wynne water colour prize. He is a figurative and abstract artist whose colourful and evocative images and stories will mesmerize. Limited tickets are available.

The wonderful Helen Maxwell and art professionals will be In Conversation at Lincoln Downs talking about making a life in the creative arts, which is not always easy.

And yes, there is more - take in a workshop. Try Taiko Japanese drumming, participate in a Poetry Slam, have a rock and roll dance lesson, get your hands on some textiles or do some silver jewelry making.

Kids can take their parents along to see Heidi Hula Hoops at the Narooma Kinema a fun matinee show for all the family on with rope twirling, circus tricks and hula hoops aplenty.

The Busking Championships in Narooma will bring the streets alive for the day on the second weekend of the festival. Busking starts from 9am and a grand finale concert will be held at the NATA Oval from 5-10pm.

"We are so proud of this year's program. There are 15 individual visual art exhibitions," said Di, "including Umbarra Indigenous Arts at Akolele, MACS in Narooma, CABBI in Batemans Bay, CIA in Moruya and more in Durras, Mogo, Tilba and Bodalla."

SOART Gallery, Narooma, again hosts the prestigious River of Art Festival prize. The 'Salon de Refuses' in the Studios also provides excellent viewing. All welcome at the official opening and awarding of prize recipients on Thursday, 16 May. Alternatively, pop in before attending the Kinema Kabaret.

The full festival program is now available on the River of Art Festival website www.riverofART.com.au .

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

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