TWELVE months ago, a Dubbo-based artist and communications consultant decided to do something about what she saw as an inequality between the opportunities that metropolitan based artists have and those who choose to live and work in regional Australia. From this idea, Where is the Art (WITA) was born.
The driving force behind what is an online hub of visual arts activity for inland NSW is Kim V. Goldsmith. With a background in regional media and communications and as a visual artist and arts administrator, Kim has used her networks and skills as a marketing communications specialist and artist to develop a website that not only lists artists, galleries, exhibitions and events, and hosts an online gallery, but she also publishes a monthly blog called Q&Art, dedicated to covering the visual arts of regional NSW.
"The internet has made the job of promoting art from regional NSW so much easier than it used to be. Now, the geographic location of the artist is not as much of an issue as it once was," says Kim.
"We do still miss out on some opportunities, particularly funding and professional development because we're not considered to have the critical mass of the north coast or metropolitan areas, but I'm hoping over time as we start to list more artists and more of the commercial gallery sector, that we'll start to create interest from those who are interested in working with artists."
WITA currently works within four regional arts board regions of Outback Arts, Orana Arts, Arts OutWest and Southern Tablelands Arts; covering 30 local government areas from the Queensland border to the ACT, Lithgow to Bourke.
"Within this region, that I like to call the creative centre of NSW, we have an enormous depth of talent across a broad range of mediums. We also have several regional galleries and many small commercial galleries, who along with the artists, make for a very vibrant regional visual arts community.
"WITA is all about helping this community increase their profile and marketing activities, which we do through our events calendar, monthly blog, a monthly e-news, media releases and social media. We are on the radar too with WITA followers in Sydney, other regional areas and overseas."
To celebrate WITA's first birthday, Kim is touring an exhibition of 26 postcard-sized artworks by 13 artists from an area between Lightning Ridge to Crookwell, Lithgow to Narromine. The exhibition started in Dubbo in early July and is currently showing at Parkes Shire Library until August 3 before travelling to Lithgow's Eskbank House and Museum and finishing up in Coonamble in October at the Outback Arts Gallery.
Titled Crossing Lines: an exhibition of 6x4s, Kim says the exhibition is a celebration.
"It's a celebration of not only the first birthday of WITA, but of the artistic expression of those artists who choose to live and work in regional NSW. The title Crossing Lines makes reference to the idea of regional artists working across boundaries – extending their reach into new territories and taking their art to the world via the web.
"It has been really well received to date and we've had several comments from city-based visitors to the show who have said they would love to see something like it in their cities. Who knows, maybe the next WITA touring exhibition will tour the major capital cities of Australia! It's up to us to create our own opportunities, which is so much easier to do when we work together and share our knowledge and skills," says Kim.
The touring exhibition can be seen at Parkes Shire Linbrary until August 3 and at Eskbank House Museum in Lithgow August 24-26 and online in the Where is the Art virtual gallery: www.whereistheart.com.au