Development and Achievements

Beechworth community members formed the Beechworth Arts Council in the 1970s as a forum of support across all creative art genres – arts, crafts, music and theatre.

Major projects

Beechworth Artist, Jo Voigt’s interpretation of the scroll of Beechworth and district late colonial women who signed the Great Petition in 1891 for women’s suffrage.

Since its inception, Beechworth Arts Council has initiated and supported many community arts projects including:

  • ART in Autumn 2024 – exhibition and Art Chat 03 – 05 May, 2024 (details here)
  • Spring Arts 2024 – exhibition and more (details coming soon)
  • Beechworth Family Album 2024/25– spanning more than 40 years since 1984 (details soon)
  • Beechworth Town Hall Tapestry (details here)
  • Lake Sambell Labyrinth – part of Victoria State Government Creative Village Project (details)
  • Floating Myths – Such Fertile Ground Federation Centenary project (details)
  • Centenary of Women’s Suffrage (details)

 

Lake Sambell Labyrinth – fostering mindful walking
within the ancient symbol of the Labyrinth.

 

Youth projects

Since 1994 the Beechworth Arts Council has sponsored Beechworth Secondary College’s visual and performing arts excellence annual awards.

VCE Student Art – Holly Borschman (front) with Beechworth Secondary College fellow 2017 VCE art students Indigo Rowe and Elvie Rooney and art teacher Nina Machielse Hunt.
Jamie Kronborg photographer

The Beechworth Arts Council has also supported Beechworth Secondary College students’ attendance at Melbourne Writers’ Festival, New England Summer Camp, and Melbourne Theatre Company. It has also helped students to attend Melbourne’s Big Day Out.

Beechworth Arts Council hosted a Combined Schools’ Annual Art Exhibition at what is now Mayday Hills Village in the Arts Precinct for many years and provided space for students to prepare work for the exhibition.


Workshops

Frank Burger’s Abstract Painting Workshop, Old Stone Hall, Spring Arts Show 2016

Beechworth Arts Council has conducted many workshops over the years ranging across music, painting, drawing, performance art, leatherwork, bonsai, writing, etching, bookbinding, textiles, weaving, basket-making, photography, and sculpture.


Arts and craft markets

Arts and Craft Market, Beechworth Arts Council’s Arts Hub at Quercus Community Hall, 2014

In 1980 Beechworth Arts Council established the Country Craft Market in Beechworth’s historic Town Hall Gardens. The market was held seasonally until 2004 by which time it supported 170 stalls. It was a regular meeting place for artists, craftspeople, gardeners, cooks, and musicians. The ‘home-made, home-grown’ approach remained throughout its development. When the market was required to move from the gardens in 2001 much of the atmosphere was lost. The last Country Craft Market was held in Beechworth Police Paddocks in 2004.


Arts precincts

During the 1990s Beechworth Arts Council established an Arts Precinct at La Trobe University’s Beechworth campus. The precinct became the centre for arts activity with the Toyshop Studio Spaces available for nominal rent by Beechworth Arts Council members. The Kiosk building and the Store were used for many exhibitions and workshops. The precinct was the focus of BAC activities until the campus closed in 2011.

In 2021/22 Beechworth Arts Council launched an Arts Hub in Quercus Community Hall. The monthly hub became a drop in point for local creatives, with arts and craft stalls and a welcoming social space to rebuild confidence and art networks post Covid-19 pandemic.


Artist Ella Versteege and her ART in Autumn paintings, 2023. Photograph by Coral Cooksley and The Ovens and Murray Advertiser (details here)

Artist residencies

Beechworth Arts Council artists in residence have included sculptor Deborah Gardner, photographer Stephen Henderson (Family Album 1984), painter Paul Rosenbloom, performance artist Jill Orr, and photographer Richard Williams (Family Album 1994).

WRAP author’s dinner, 2026

Other activities

Regular council activities have included life drawing classes, Made in Beechworth exhibitions, Café Concerts, in which performers have included Martin Hayes (Ireland), Dennis Cahill (United States), Chris Smither (USA), and Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band performances. Beechworth Arts Council has also presented a Beechworth Film Festival as well as a number of Hothouse Theatre productions, the most memorable of which is Embers -following bushfires in 2003.

During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, Beechworth Arts Council launched a public online campaign titled Show us ya art. Devised to foster community participation during a period of potential isolation, participants in Show us ya art contributed images of either their own artwork or artists that inspire them as a #ShowUsYaArt hashtag across all social media.

 

An example of a #ShowUsYaArt post showing a photograph of Margaret Olley’s studio interior, as part of the Margaret Olley Centre at Tweed Regional Gallery
Unlocked Exhibition at Beechworth Library and The Empire Hotel, following the first round of Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. The poster shows Jan Clement’s
“Covidia Australis” creature

Beechworth Arts Council AIMS AND OBJECTIVES (click here)

Beechworth Arts Council Membership details (here)