Ultima AIR

Photographer Mick Cullin as artist in residence, has been capturing the good folk and surrounds of Ultima, a small Mallee town just a little south and west of Swan Hill. This project will culminate in an exhibition to be held later this year in the Ultima Town Hall. Ultima Artist In Residence is an outreach program of Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery with support from Regional Arts Fund.


ACRE 3 Seminar

cropped-acre3-fb-banner3.jpgDelegates to the third ACRE Seminar,  The art of farming, mental health and creating communities,  were treated to an inspiring and uplifting day of impassioned speakers.

The keynote address was delivered by the CAD Factory’s Vic McEwan. Vic spoke of his experience moving to Boree Creek NSW with his partner to set up a studio and art practice. The CAD Factory involves and is embraced by community through socially engaged art practices. .

Dr Alison Kennedy gave an absorbing address about the research she is undertaking through Deakin University and the National Centre for Farmer Health. “The Ripple Effect” is a remarkable digital community engagement program that seeks to respond to the high rates of stigma and suicide  in  rural farming communities.

Robin Yetman from the Patchewollock Music Festival wowed everyone with stories of community spirit and support in staging an ever growing and successful music festival on the smell of an oily rag. Dr Keith Mullette from Forbes in central west NSW, described the beginnings of yet another arts led success story in the Lachlan Sculpture Trail.

And artist Trevor Flinn and farmer Peter Redfearn reflected on the success and legacy of the inaugural TWIG residency, held on Peter’s farm.






Speakers Abstracts, ACRE 3 Seminar

cropped-acre3-fb-banner3.jpgACRE 3 will bring together farmers, mental health workers,
artists and community leaders from regional Victoria and NSW to
discuss innovative and successful programs making a difference in
rural communities.

Presenters have provided the following abstracts:

Robin Yetman from the Patchewollock Music Festival:

An experiment with the arts to help create community pride and well being.A description of how the Patchewollock Music Festival originated from humble beginnings and how a vision was created from a single idea. We will outline the subsequent growth of the festival over the years and the reasons for continued success showing how the event has been able to remain free to visitors and still be financially stable.

Alison Kennedy from the National Centre for Farmer Health,
(Hamilton VIC) ,

The Ripple Effect is an innovative digital research project responding to higher rates of stigma and suicide in rural farming communities. The project has been designed to engage with Australia’s rural community and promote the sharing of personal stories and information, build understanding and facilitate communication.

Dr. Keith Mullette from Somewhere Down the Lachlan (Forbes NSW)

Forbes is a drive through agricultural town on the Newell Highway where it crosses the Lachlan River. It is one of six such towns in the Lachlan Catchment.Like other rural towns it is declining slowly, largely due to changing agriculture. This will continue as mining ceases. The Forbes Arts Society has initiated the “Somewhere Down the Lachlan Sculpture Trail” stretching from around town along the stock route down river to Condobolin. The purpose of this high class sculpture trail is to encourage travellers to stop, to look, and to discover all of the visual arts treats that lie in the catchment.

Artist and farmer presenters Trevor Flinn (Dunkeld VIC) and
Peter Redfearn (Moulamein NSW)

TWIG stands as a shining example of how artists and farmers can work together to create events that not only bring communities together but also celebrate the individuality of each farming landscape.Mutual respect between farmer and artist is a vital ingredient of a successful TWIG, with the visiting artist thriving on creative freedom, but also requiring a certain degree of creative input, periodic assistance and encouragement from their host. By far the most important ingredient of TWIG is trust, which is something that has to be cultivated carefully in an age of increasing anxiety and cynicism.The often surprising and memorable outcomes which resulted from TWIG injected those who took part with a renewed sense of optimism, purpose, enthusiasm, and connectedness, and occasionally planted the proverbial seed for ongoing collaborations between artist and farmer.     

Vic McEwan the Artistic Director of the CAD Factory, (Narrandera NSW)

We often discuss the impact that the arts can have in developing future artists and developing arts audience; but less often is the discussion had about the potential for the arts to address complex issues that exist for individuals and for our communities.Vic McEwan will present example of his arts practice and the work of The Cad Factory, the multi arts organisation based in the regional town of Narrandera NSW which he runs with his partner, Sarah McEwan.The Cad Factory’s deep exploration of ideas around mental health, environmental health and community health are leading the development of socially engaged arts practice that navigates the fine line between ethical community engagement and development of new modes of arts form; with the understanding that intrinsic to the very fabric of arts practice are ideas of communication, of discover and of truth.


The People’s Museum – August 2017



Seeking contributers for The Peoples Museum, a collection of artefacts and stories from local farming families. 

Do you have something in your home or shed that has a funny, emotional, unbelievable or lovely story attached to it? It might be a story from yesterday, last year or from 100 years ago. We’d love you to send it our way to be in an exhibition at the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery from 25 August— 15 October 2017.


Contact Kim Bennett 5032 5269 or kbennett@rav.net.au


ACRE news..

ACRE logoThere’s a whole heap of activity in ACRE headquarters in 2017.

Ian is currently liaising with a number of artists and activists to come and speak at the upcoming seminar ACRE 3, the art of farming, community and mental health. Put that in your diaries for September 1st!

Kim is talking with farmers about the upcoming exhibition The People’s Museum. She’s looking at finding some quirky farming items, and the legends attached to them. This exhibition will run in conjunction with the ACRE 3 seminar.

We have also just un-installed the Changing Now exhibition which attracted a number of participants across the region to respond to the theme of art in a changing climate.  The winner was a local emerging artist Cinaya Vargas, with her image Forbidden Future.

As always, if you are wanting to contact us about ACRE – please email itully@swanhill.vic.gov.au


Changing NOW

changing now winnerForbidden Future, Cinaya Vargas winner Changing Now prize 2017.

changing now

Changing Now, interpretations of life in a changing climate opened at the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery on 26 May 2017. The non-acquisitive prize attracted entrants from across the region in a range of mediums. The winner was an emerging artist Cinaya Vargas. Her image Forbidden Futures depicts a distraught young woman standing in a barren, baked red landscape.

Fred Fowler, Barham TWIG Residency 2014 – images Greg Cruickshank

Carrie McGrath, Lalbert TWIG Residency 2014 – images Laura O’Dwyer

Trevor Flinn Speewa Hall Twig event

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The final Twig happened on the coldest night of Winter so far.. I thought it was going to snow!

Trevor pulled together pieces from each of the previous Twig residencies to create an evocative exhibition of rural-art, film, soundscape and sculpture.

A dedicated bunch came out in their beanies and long coats to experience the final Twig at Speewa Hall including each of the Twig residency farmers, Trevor’s parents from Dunkeld, a number of keen Twig followers from Melbourne and some first time Twiggers as well.

If you have taken any photographs during the Twig project – we’d love to see them! get in contact with us – at artgal@swanhill.vic.gov.au


Trevor Flinn TWIG residency Manangatang

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The last of our farmstay Twigs was spectacular.. it was a ‘very big twig’.. We walked barefoot through the bush, through a walkway lined with mallee roots and branches, and reflected on the land, abundance and the cycle of all things.

A little further along was the dry dam bed which had been made into a labyrinth for us to walk through. I don’t think I have ever walked in a labyrinth before – and – I found it meditative and marvellous.

On the return walk back to our main Twig fire a blue light appeared in the distance.. as we walked closer we saw the side of a truck trailer had become a cinema screen. The film Trevor had made of his stay in Manangatang cycled over and over. I am not sure if it was us taking on the calm of the labyrinth.. or the sheer unexpectedness of a film being played in the open night sky on a farm in the middle of the mallee.. but we oohhhed.. and ahhhhed.. collectively for several minutes.
One of the images captured on the screen was of a white kangaroo which lives on the farm. The kangaroo was a recurring image throughout the Twig event, with her likeness being created out of deadwood and lit, watchful over our Twig activities.

The original soundscape for this event was made by John Britten – it’s lovely and really worth a listen.

There are literally hundreds of photographs of this event.. please check back to see more over the next week or so. Kim