Artstate Bathurst promised to be a grand celebration of the region’s arts and culture, and by all accounts, it certainly didn’t disappoint.
For four days, Bathurst played host to a range of artistic programs that invited delegates from metropolitan areas to visit the region and observe the diverse arts and cultural landscape in the Central West.
In addition, it offered a concentrated opportunity for local artists and performers to showcase their talents for a wider audeince.
Regional Arts NSW CEO Elizabeth Rogers says the event has revealed a great deal about Bathurst’s connection with the arts.
“The support from the community has been lovely,” Ms Rogers said.
“This is a really hard event to run, so to see a lot of people at the opening ceremony as well as at other events has been fantastic.”
Ms Rogers says Artstate is an event intended to enhance a region’s profile and demonstrate that excellence exists in regional arts practice.
“We wanted a really diverse illustration of the arts practice that exists across the Central West, and that was perhaps best reflected by the My Own Backyard exhibition at Tremain’s Mill,” she said.
“It featured artists calling this area home who have created works that have been exhibited nationally and internationally.”
Also of note during the Artstate festivities was the key focus on Indigenous Australian arts and culture.
Ms Rogers said the involvement of the Wiradyuri Bathurst elders and performers helped produce a spectacular opening ceremony for the event.
“That extraordinary smoking ceremony, combined with director Bec Russell's beautiful segues showing Bathurst’s rich indigenous and colonial heritage was magnificent,” she said.
“Finishing on that lovely note of optimism with the young dancers and musicians was just perfect!”
Artstate will move to Tamworth for 2019, and Ms Rogers says the partnership with Arts Outwest has been essential in ensuring a positive response from the event.
“The number of young people that are engaged in the arts in Bathurst, as well as those who have developed careers in the arts here is simply amazing,” she said.