It’s not just our minds that will be stimulated at this year’s Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival. Local visual artists will be “dressing up the town for a new look, with book inspired artworks” says Philip Senior (on right above), of Arts Network Bellingen (AnB).
AnB comprises “local creative people who share ideas, opportunities and passions for more art in our community,” says Mark Renshaw (Lunci-pictured above on left) of Big Fig Arts and an active member of AnB. Individual artists have joined with Big Fig Arts and Mixed Up Art to create Arts network Bellingen and this collaboration allows for a grander scale of project.
Through the alliance of these creative minds the ‘PULP project’ evolved- a visual component to compliment the Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival. “The main aim was to create works of art from books or works that were book inspired. We hope to add to the spectacle and theme of the festival as patrons walk around and attend sessions,” says Lunci.
All involved want to acknowledge Bellingen Shire Council’s support through a ‘Placemaking Grant’. “This has allowed our ideas to fly,” says Philip.
From the outset the PULP project has encouraged community involvement. “We saw it as an opportunity for people to be actively involved in the Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival,” says Philip. Over the past few weeks free ‘PULP sculpture making workshops’ have drawn large crowds. “This diversity and energy makes the finished works more unique and gives people a chance to be part of the festival in their home town,” says Lunci.
“There has been a variety of book and literature inspired works created. We have dozens of book birds ready to fly as a flock at the venues. There is a giant pen highlighting the history of the written word, a more contemporary form is a computer with ideas flowing forth and many other projects to be seen and engage with,” says Lunci.
Maa Galung Park will be adorned with art installations for the duration of the festival. ‘Homage to Qwerty’ ( love it or hate it) and the ‘Waste Bin of First Drafts’ are two to look out for.
Local businesses will have shopfront displays during the festival, adding to the festive air. These include re-purposed book sculptures such as ‘The Red Queen’, ‘Recreating the Volume’, ‘Off Line Support’, ‘Letters to the Editor’ and ‘the Gruffalo display’ – walk around town and find them. Another great addition will be some large scale 2D Leunig characters appearing in various parts of the town.
This sense of community engagement and collaboration has also been extended to our local Primary School children. AnB members Jackie Lee and Kathy Taylor have inspired the students to create visual book reviews through mixed media and collage which will be displayed through the main street of Bellingen. “So I think we have a wide rage of people & ages involved – which is really great,” says Philip.
These collaborative artists have been and will continue to be involved in many local community artistic ventures. Arts network Bellingen were responsible for the wonderful Open Up to Art weekend in 2017. Big Fig Arts are mentoring on the P.O.P ( paint our poles) project with The Bellingen Youth Hub, and have a great project working with adults with special needs coming up as well. “We aim to get involved with as many community projects as we can handle and we love creativity that advocates diversity, inclusiveness and belonging in our fabulous town of Bellingen,” says Lunci.
How lucky is Bellingen!
Bellingen Readers & Writers Festival is happening in Bellingen- June Long weekend 8th-10th June.
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