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Locals brush up on their skills!

Broken Hill Art Exchange (BHAE) Academy of Arts had a successful first semester.

After a few false starts due to COVID-19, the Academy finished its first program of art workshops.

“The workshops were a great way for local people to engage with local and international artists,” Creative Director at BHAE, Susan Thomas said.

A community grant from the Broken Hill City Council and a Broken Hill Art Grant helped invigorate the Academy’s program in the city after COVID.

The Academy of Arts was designed for locals to share skills, make art together and learn from professional artists, musicians, writers, and curators.

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The first half of this year offered a diverse and stimulating program of workshops, including sun prints with artist James Farley, mural design with Shane Vink and a paper dyeing workshop.

Wild crafted oil workshops, Japanese calligraphy, circus for leisure, drawing workshops, writing workshops, interior design and tabletop adventure games were also on offer.

“We’re not offering certificate courses at this stage, this is something we may develop in the future,’ Ms Thomas said.

The Academy started with short introductory workshops with organisers now designing longer sessions to be part of the upcoming program.

New Zealand artist, Heather Watt, recently ran a successful short workshop and decided to teach mixed media skills in a more extended session happening today.

“If we have the numbers at our workshops, then we can pay artists for their time, which may help them stay in the region,” Ms Thomas said.

The BHAE plan to expand the workshop program over time and invite local professionals and self-taught artists with creative practices in the region to consider registering as a tutor to deliver classes with the Academy.

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) demonstrated how this not-for-profit volunteer organisation survives through great passion and enthusiasm.

The BHAE welcomed its new committee for 2022-23 at the AGM this week.

Ms Thomas said the new executive board members bring a wealth of skills to the organisation, John MacLeod will continue as President with Meg Gilbert taking on the role of Vice President.

Ms Gilbert was the first intern at the BHAE last year and decided to stay as a resident in Broken Hill.

Other committee members are Julua Hamel, Ron Mather, Rae Hammond, Nadina Benvenisti, Lesley Pippen and Susan Thomas.

Outgoing executives Gary Cook, Armando Licul, Paul Adcock and Louise Moriarty were thanked for their dedication and work.

The BHAE has three volunteer inhouse artists who organise the workshops and curate exhibitions.

They want to inspire other artists and the community to engage with art practice.

“This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Desert Equinox. It’s exciting because we are talking to the original thirty artists about returning for this year’s Desert Equinox,” Ms Thomas said.

The BHAE are seeking expressions of interest for their Art in the City exhibition.

The BHAE can accommodate up to thirty artists in Broken Hill and have studio spaces available for local and visiting artists.

For more information about the Academy of the Arts and upcoming exhibitions, contact (08) 8088 4698, email [email protected] or visit www.brokenhillartexchange.org.au.

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