It has been well established that public art can be use as a catalyst for social engagement, civic pride and a tool to stimulate economic development within communities. Creating works for the public environment can also present opportunities of professional development for artists, emerging and established, and to experiment with ideas outside of the studio and attract new non-art audiences. It is with these goals in mind that The Game: Avalon Art Carnival was conceived. This festival will be achieved through two phases, which will spans over the course of six months.
The Art Carnival 7-21 Nov 2015
Months of preparation, creating and collaboration culminate in the event that is The Carnival. This event will instill a sense of wonder, fun and excitement, created by artists and site-specific to Avalon. As people wander throughout the suburb the familiar becomes activated with play. This event affords the opportunity for social engagement through some of the projects and the accompanying tours and educational programs.
Although most of the artworks will be ephemeral there will be a concerted effort to realize some longer term or permanent works. This will not only be a lasting record of the event but will add to the council’s cultural collection and reputation as a strong art precinct.
The Workshop (Completed)
Led by Kendal Henry*, the workshop began with a presentation to highlight the diversity of use of public art projects and act as a spark for inspiration. This presentation was open to the public and artists, community members, elected officials and business owners were encouraged to attend. The expectation was that artists will collaborate in some way with the various populations that make up Avalon to inspire and inform their artwork.
In the weeks leading up to the workshop, a Call Out For Participants was circulated to alert artists of this opportunity. Through this expression of interest artists from near and far were selected to make interactive and playful artworks, which are inspired by the project title The Game. It should be noted that “artists” refers to and is open to all creative fields and not just visual artists – all are welcomed to participate. Each of these artists will collaborate creatively with the curatorial team of Susan Milne, Greg Stonehouse and Kendal Henry throughout the duration of project. This team will ensure that each of the artists’ work is safe, durable and in keeping with the rules and regulations set forth by the council while reaching its fullest fun potential. With an inspirational title as The Game come many opportunities for play on many different levels. Artists will be encouraged to channel their inner child in creative and innovative ways to physically and mentally engage the Avalon community.
As we all know with some games come prizes and this is where the Carnival comes in. Artists may be inspired to create artworks that double as prizes or be the game itself, from existing activities or materials – perhaps creating an award in partnership with the local gym for performing a feat of strength or endurance; or collaborating with the local bakery to create a special Carnival Cake or Cookie; or even making a musical instrument from tools from the hardware store that’s played in the hardware store. There are many ways that The Game can be played throughout Avalon, it’s facilities and the local businesses. The goal for Phase 1 of this project is to explore all possible sites and opportunities for collaboration, which will then inform the conceptual ideas of the artists.
* Kendal Henry is best described as a cultural engineer. He is an expert at creating symbiotic relationships between artists, community, business and other cultural assets to address issues of social engagement, civic pride and economic development. With twenty-five years of experience as artist, administrator and curator in this highly specialized field he is able to navigate the nuanced relationships between artists and collaborators to achieve the desired outcomes. This task been successfully achieved through the range of projects and programs he’s initiated, from multimillion-dollar permanent artworks to weekend festivals, throughout Australia, North America, Russia, Asia, Central Asia, and the Caribbean.