An idea with an itch

All roads lead to ‘The Itch’ on Wednesday, which is kind of a pitch to the Splendid Curatorium (the group who will decide on the final commissions at the end of this year). All up there are 16 ideas which will be presented on Wednesday, and altough the final submissions for projects aren’t due until December, this really is a way to test the waters before doing more research and feasibility. It’s a bit scary and daunting and most of the artists will spend today and tomorrow refining, discussing and developing their ideas with Paul and Jeff. 

We wind up Monday sitting on the balcony overlooking the playing field at the Italo-Australia Club. Every day has been sunny in Lismore. So much of our time has been spent outside on the grass. Being by the river has created such a peaceful backdrop and environment in the fostering so many ideas and so much potential. Everyone looks a bit exhausted and a bit sun-kissed, but there is a huge sense of excitement about the next couple of days.

I am finding it very interesting to see how everyone works together, hopping from one collaboration to another as they work on their different projects. I can’t help but think that this whole experience wil be invaluable to everyone regardless of whether they show work at the Festival next year or not. The Spendid Commission is competitive, but there is absolutely no sense of competition amongst artists. Everyone gets on so well, friendships for life have formed here this week. The Lab is about more than just producing artwork, it is producing careers and collaborations well beyond this two week event.

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About Us

Splendid is an idea that emanated out of the lush and festival laden Northern Rivers of New South Wales, bringing together the next generation of artists in Australia to consider how to make art and performance for mass audiences.

The program is driven by partner organisations Lismore Regional Gallery and NORPA(Northern Rivers Performing Arts), and supported by Splendour in the Grass – one of Australia’s largest music, arts and youth festivals.

Splendid is unique in its focus on cross-artform collaboration and it’s connection with festival culture. Participating artists are invited to embrace this challenging and exhilarating context, and use it as a springboard to take their creative practices to a new level.

The program brings together knowledge and creative professionals from public art, theatre, visual arts, architecture, design and digital technology to explore the ways that art can transform a public space and break open new possibilities for audience experience.

Splendid is an Opportunities for Young and Emerging Artists Initiative (OYEA) assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

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Curious Creatures: ‘n Eerste in Suid-Afrika!

2010/2011 Splendid artist Jimmy McGilchrist will soon be taking his work, Curious Creatures, to the major South African Afrikaans Arts Festival – Vryfees. In fact the work is billed as the headline act for this festival that attracts over 250,000 people!

Festival Director, Adri Herbert, opens the Festival program with the following comments:

‘The most important question we asked ourselves in the planning Vryfees 2012 was what can we show South African’s that they have never seen before. This is how the Curious Creatures installation became a reality for us, with the help of the Australia Council for the Arts… A first in South Africa…’

The first Adri is referring to, is the first time that audiences will see in South Africa an augmented reality work! It’s a long way from where the work was at this time last year. Prior to its showing at Splendour in the Grass in July/August, Curious Creatures was tested and shown to audiences at the Lismore Lantern Parade in June 2011.

Jimmy received an Australia Council Hopscotch Grant ($10,000) to tour this work overseas. This is a great outcome for Jimmy, for the Splendid program and tor the Australia Council in securing pathway’s for emerging artists to develop their careers outside the traditional gallery/performing arts venues.

All of us involved with Jimmy to date would like to say a huge Baie Geluk! (Congratulations)

To find out more on the Vryfees Festival head to

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