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Art for All

Music is said to be a universal connector but equally so is art and story. Although disrupted by the impact of COVID 19, it's been fascinating to observe the growth in more local and community-based creative endeavours. Art has stepped out of the big city galleries and into the community with an increase in outdoor sculpture events, story and poetry readings in pubs and cafes, permanent installations in public parks, and the striking silo art that has emerged around the country. In small country towns, regional galleries, and suburban gallery spaces, I’ve been surprised and moved by the range and scope of what people are creating and sharing with audiences no longer limited to art aficionados.

Mounted ARI (artist run initiative), nestled in Winmalee in the Lower Blue Mountains is one such venue. Set up by retired teacher and student of photography Mark Denny and his artist partner Julie Parkin in 2019, Mounted ARI ran a series of successful visual art exhibitions, flash fiction events and music soirees before COVID arrived and shut everything down last year. When restrictions began to ease at the end of 2020, Julie, one of the most creative people I know, ran a fab experimental art show called ‘The Viewer is Present’. A novel idea, ‘The Viewer is Present’ specifically acknowledged the viewer’s role both as a consumer of art and a co-creator of meaning. Click here to read more about this fascinating idea.

The Blue Mountains has always been a magnet for artisans, writers and artists – its spectacular natural features, its villagey atmosphere and quieter slower pace encourages the generation of ideas and creative expression. Varuna, the national writers’ house can be found in Katoomba and numerous galleries and studios dot the upper Mountains. But, in the Lower Mountains, at least until more recently, it’s been a different story. Now, with Mounted ARI, Mark and Julie have provided a community-based venue that aims to provide Lower Mountains artists and creatives with somewhere to share their work. Mark is also particularly keen on promoting the work of younger emerging artists who often struggle to find a gallery to show their work. To read more about Mounted ARI, go their website. Alongside the obvious exhibiting goal, Mounted ARI is equally passionate about building community through art, story and music. Each event brings locals and those from further afield together for the exchange of ideas and good conversation.

So, what’s on the Mounted ARI agenda for March? Beginning next Saturday the 13th their next exhibition: Reclamation: Exploring Memory opens at 2.00pm. All welcome. The exhibition will continue over the following three weekends, and on Sunday 21st of March Mounted ARI will host a short fiction event. See my blog post for further details. Finally, on the last weekend, a music event will bring the exhibition to a close. More events are planned for later in 2021, so keep an eye on their website and Facebook page.

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