GrampianArts is a not for profit organisation based in western Victoria, that strives to provide opportunities for artists to extend their skills and showcase their work.
Do you ever wonder why something is happening in one place and not in another or what the background is, as to why this happens? This is the story of GrampiansArts. What started as a fire recovery project in 2008 has now become an annual “must do” for many artists.
Grampians Texture was started in 2008 as an idea to bring tourists back to the Grampians following the 2007 bushfires. At the time, Marion Matthews was the Regional Arts Development Officer with Regional Arts Victoria, working with the communities surrounding the Grampians National park. A number of arts projects under the banner of Beyond the Smoke brought community members from diverse backgrounds into the room to sing, paint, make and create, telling stories of their shared experience of the impact of the fires. As the Beyond the Smoke developed people began to ask how can there be more workshops in the Grampians area for artists. These questions became a discussion with Halls Gap Tourist Association about how to bring people back to the Grampians to stay. And so Grampians Texture evolved; a little like the phoenix, it grew from the ashes!
The first Grampians Texture included painting and mosaics, but the emphasis was on textiles, and as the event evolved over time, it has become exclusive textile related arts. This was also because the community support team that assisted with organising Grampians Texture had a collective textile passion; people like Gill Venn from Fibreworks along with, Helen Hobbs, Marg Scott, Helen Blandford, Delys Jolly, Marion Matthews and Helen Blandford, mentored by Janet De Boer from TAFTA. All of whom have been instrumental in guiding a strong artistic vision for Grampians Texture.
In establishing the event it was decided that it was important to develop a different model to the many other artists forums such as the TAFTA forums or USQ McGregor schools etc, that are centred on a boarding school formula. The notion of having a weekend class and a Monday to Thursday class was developed, enabling people to come for a shorter time to accommodate personal budgets and time. We also wanted to establish an event during a quiet time of year in the region, so moved away from the school holiday times. Halls Gap is an ideal holiday destination, so we provided opportunities within the workshop program, allowing time to explore the local natural environment and to relax.
In 2011 the first Grampians Brushes was run following requests from painters and visual artists for a workshop program for them. So the same tried and tested format was used as had been developed for Grampians Texture. And in 2020 the Summer Brushes program was added to the suit of workshops coordinated by GrampianArts. this is a painting and printmaking workshop held in January at Longerenong College on the outskirts of Horsham.
As time has moved on Grampians Texture and Brushes has evolved in more ways than one. In 2010 Halls Gap Tourist Association decided that they did not want to be involved in the management and running of events anymore. They supported the development of the new not for profit group GrampianArts (which now oversees Grampians Texture, Grampians Brushes and Summer Brushes).
GrampianArts are involved in numerous other arts activities in the region, most recently developing "Art Immersion" a week long arts camp for seniors secondary arts students.