Monthly Archives: February 2011

Shout out to some local talent!

I often think how incredibly lucky I am to have the life I have, be the person I am and be living in the environment I’m in. I’m surrounded by so many talented, inspiring and just damn amazing people, young and old.

But here’s a bit of a shout out to some local Riverlanders who I think are just pretty awesome and make living here that much nicer….

First of all the lovely Shaylee Leach, who’s just completed an arts admin trainee ship with Riverland Youth Theatre (it’s her last day today!) before she heads off this weekend to her new home in Adelaide to study Visual Arts at Uni SA! Congratulations to her not only for getting her first preference at Uni but she’s also been successful in being chosen as one of the 2011 JUMP Mentee’s (You might remember I was a 2010 JUMPer – take a look at PressureLands to hear about what I got up to) Shaylee will be working with her very talented mentor Deborah Paauwe to develop exhibition ready photographic artworks.

Shaylee is also part of a ‘rocking band’ with Jessica (Weedy) Weidenhofer. And when you add me, the 3 of us make up the Riverland Youth Connect Team. Riverland Youth Connect is a website created, developed & maintained by young people for young people as part of the Online Community Youth Spaces project delivered and supported by the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition. The Online Community Youth Spaces project is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Youth Forum.
The Online Community Youth Spaces is a new project that aims to tap into the power of technology to connect young people by supporting young people (or groups of young people) to use their creativity to develop a website promoting youth involvement and positive images of young people in their local community. There were only 10 positions across Australia and we were the only group in South Australia to be successful!! Check it out here (and get involved!)

Also keeping with the JUMP theme, another Riverlander (who we’ve just lost to Adelaide but I’ll continue to claim her) is the very talented and generous Kelly Menhennett. Kelly was a 2010 JUMPer with me and she has a beautiful velvet ‘rootsy’ voice. Her music and vocals not only capture the essence of the Riverland but also explore and weave her experiences traveling to various corners of the world. Her album ‘Word of Mine’ launched late last year here in the Riverland at the Mallee Fowl and also in Adelaide can be purchased here. Well worth the buy.

Then there’s Miss Taylor Schramm – visual artist extraordinaire – her art work was so popular at an RYT gala dinner that one particular person who missed out had a mini tantrum!

Jamahl Pollard is another visual artist, not only are his works stunning but even more so considering that Jamahl is legally blind! His work is beautiful irrespective of this but pretty impressive considering his left eye is artificial and his right has only 6.4% peripheral vision, although he can see in detail about 30cm (a rulers length away). Jamahl also teaches art classes and is involved with art therapy, check out his website for all the details and to view his work.

Another talented musician (who’s also left for the Big Smoke, but again I’m claiming him as ours) is Mr Michael Cook. He’s also a bit of dance fiend and teaches dance and music – not sure where you can purchase his debut CD but I’ll find our and link it here.

Also for some all round talent you can’t go past the PressureLands cast – check our their YouTube channel and here’s a sneak peak from the work in progress showing:

Here’s some other great stuff created and inspired in the Riverland:

LetterBanks – A project with Riverland Youth Theatre which paired up young & old to explore life in the Riverland through a letter writing exchange. Letters were then used to create a huge projection screen on the Bank of the Murray where interviews with the participants were filmed and projection nightly for week. The following is short snippet from that projection.

Some fun films from a one half day film making workshop again with Riverland Youth Theatre:

Tree Change

Greenies Have Feelings Too

Hard to Swallow

And a project by me and my creative & life partner Nic Tubb – who inspires me always and every day to be a better version of myself and to lend my skills to building a better world:

Square Numbers

There are oodles more but not everyone has something online I can link you to! But I love promoting our people so if you are a Riverlander doing cool stuff email me with some links to your work and I’d love to promote you here and also if you’re under 30 on Riverland Youth Connect.

Junction 2010 – Podcast

I was lucky enough to be invited to be a guest speaker late last year as part of Junction – The Regional Arts Conference which is held every two years in a different regional location in Australia (it also receives a new name to go with its new location – previous names include ‘Meeting Place’ & ‘Art in the Heart’).

I was invited to Junction to speak as part of the ‘JUMP:Mentorships that work in a Regional Context’ session along with Julie Woodward CEO of Youth Arts Queensland and Brook Newall, a talented Queensland Artsworker and 2009 YAMP Mentee.

You can listen to our session via podcast here – the sound drops out for a little while during Brooke’s talk (which is prior to mine) as I think she stepped away from the podium and therefore the microphone but if you fast forward a little the sound kicks back in. I shared my backwards road into the arts, my experience as a regional artist and as a 2010 JUMP mentee, including my project PressureLands.

Junction overall was a lot of fun and a very special experience for me as it was my first time presenting. Big thank you’s must go to the wonderful staff from Carclew who checked in with me during the conference to make sure I was ‘ok’ and especially to Georgie for coming to hear me speak. And to Olivia from Riverland Youth Theatre who also came to our session to hear me speak. Also a big, big thank you to Country Arts SA who supported my attendance at the conference through their travel assistance program – I would not have been able to get there without their help! Massive thank you to my fellow presenters Julie from YAQ and to Brooke who was absoultely inspiring and so full of joy and life – keep an eye on what she gets up to as I’m sure it will be amazing! Also big thanks to the other YAQ staff, Carley, Anna & Caro for their encouragement and support.