WDA welcomes new Communications Officer

Aimee Volkofsky and Kelly Leonard

Kelly Leonard’s four-year tenure as Communications Officer at West Darling Arts (WDA) has come to an end, with the Regional Arts Development Organisation (RADO) for Far West NSW welcoming Aimee Volkofsky to the role.

Ms Leonard has been a firm fixture at exhibitions, festivals, workshops, and in artists’ studios across the Far West in promoting the work of artists throughout the region and connecting them to opportunities to grow and develop their practice.

Upon reflecting on her time at WDA, Ms Leonard has learned that Broken Hill’s art scene is extremely diverse which owes to the landscape of the wider region and the works that are produced.

“There’s a range of artists here, I really enjoy seeing that diversity. I think there’s something about the environment out here that drives and attracts certain artists. The landscape and the environment that attracts a certain kind of intensity with people that come out here,” she said.

“You probably need to be a bit adventurous to get out here, and you also need to be tenacious to stay, because things are so far removed from the metro art scenes. You need to be quite skilled at learning how to attract resources that you need.

“We’re not like other regional centres in NSW where there’s creative hubs. It’s much, much easier to attract like-minded people, your art family, in those bigger regional centres.”

While Ms Leonard says isolation, access to resources, and access to an audience are challenges for some artists in the Far West, she says that artists have to get creative and that the advantages lay in the space, quality of life, and being able to have a home studio.

“As a practicing artist myself I love having access to locations where minerals are extracted, working with incredible mineral collections. Being here drives my work in a conceptual way and in a material way as well. I like the quirkiness of people that I’ve met out here and how they become passionate about their collections or what they make. It’s probably the friendliest place I’ve ever lived.”

Speaking on the strengths for any artist in the Far West while acknowledging the isolation and access to audience resources do become a barrier, Ms Volkofsky believes there is a uniqueness to the region that calls for artists to create striking pieces of artwork.

“The distinctiveness or the Far West’s landscape and history makes it unlike anywhere else. The inspiration and opportunities that come to an artist here are entirely unique [and] I think organisations like WDA are so important; to help connect local artists to audience and opportunities”, she mentioned.

On the future of the arts scene in the Far West, Ms Leonard is optimistic about where it’s heading. She says when things started to open up again post-COVID, festivals such as the Mundi Mundi Bash and Broken Heel Festival came to town, as well as events and programs run with and by WDA.

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