Council launches Sunday Morning Sessions for creatives

Surf Coast Shire Council will be hosting Sunday Morning Sessions during July and August, as part of its PORTAL range of virtual workshops, conversations and panel discussions with established and emerging artists from across the region.

“We have a prolific, incredible, but often hidden arts scene in Surf Coast Shire,” said Cr David Bell. “These sessions are our way to connect artists and the community and a chance to step back as arts practitioners and discuss the bigger picture about why art matters and where we are heading as a collective.”

The sessions, which run each Sunday from 11.00am – midday through the PORTAL, are part of the COVID-Safe alternatives Council has created for creatives following the cancellation of its popular Surf Coast Arts Trail, which sees around 5000 people visit 70+ venues over one weekend each August.

“Sunday Morning Sessions are a chance for people to get to know the wonderful stories behind the artworks and get inside the minds of artists further afield – such as hinterland artists in Deans Marsh and the Otways,” said Cr Bell. “It also makes the behind-the-scenes arts experiences accessible to all in the region, as well as to those outside our shire to showcase our artists to the world.”

PORTAL conversations during July include prominent arts figure Julie Dyer in conversation with leading public artist and landscape designer Mark Trinham on 5th July, as well as Wudawurrung leader Corinna Eccles “talking Treaty” with Surf Coast photographer Ferne Millen on 12th July and talking about the significance of ochre, water and art in the lives of First Nations people with Art Space president Sally Groom on 19th July.

“There are a number of ochre pits in the Surf Coast Shire and this last session is a reminder that art connects us to place and to our history,” said Cr Bell. “Mark’s work also inspires this connection, while creating inspiring environments for future residents.”

The last Sunday Morning Sessions’ PORTAL conversation will be on 26 July when Deans Marsh environmental artist Miranda Jarvis interviews prominent Victorian theatre director and actor Iris Walshe-Howling, who is now based in Lorne.

“It’s wonderful to pair such contrasting artists for this panel – one visual artist at the start of her career and one theatre practitioner with a wealth of experience,” said Cr Bell. “Although very different, they connect so well creatively and I’m very interested to see where this conversation, and the others, will lead.”

In August, the Sunday Morning Sessions will move to panel discussions, with a more structured format bringing together a range of our best creative forces in the region.

Alongside the workshops, conversations and panel discussions, PORTAL is also collaborating with Surf Coast’s FReeZA youth development program for 12-25 year-olds to showcase young musicians via the online platform for Friday night online sessions.

“PORTAL aims to be the spine of the arts community sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we encourage the arts community to use the site as a venue to host other conversations they want to hear,” said Cr Bell. “The Shire is the fourth largest region for creative entrepreneurs in Australia and we want people to know the potential that exists here.”

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