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.
Since its inception, Beechworth Arts Council has initiated and supported many community arts projects including:
- ART in Autumn – Exhibition and Art Chat 04 – 07 May, 2023 (details here)
- Spring Ditch – Neds Head project – annual event (details)
- WRAP weekend (Writers, Readers and Poets) (details)
- Spring Arts (details)
- Beechworth Town Hall Tapestry (details)
- Beechworth Family Album – spanning more than 40 years since 1984 (details)
- 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)
Since 1994 the Beechworth Arts Council has sponsored Beechworth Secondary College’s visual and performing arts excellence annual awards.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
Beechworth Arts Council AIMS AND OBJECTIVES (click here)
Beechworth Arts Council Membership details (here)