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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Giving young artists an ArtStarter

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Talented young artists from across the region strutted their stuff at the recent ArtStart Northern Rivers Showcase at Byron Theatre, as part of a diverse and exciting program incorporating music, film, fashion, photography, sculpture, street art, writing and dance.

The event was the finale of Arts Northern Rivers Young Creatives Mentoring Project, a new initiative for 2011, which saw 12 young people aged 16 to 24 benefit from six months’ mentoring with some of the region’s most established and exciting creative professionals.

Among the achievements celebrated was the release of an EP comprising five original tracks written and recorded by 17-year-old Danika Smith from Alstonville with the help of mentor singer/songwriter Karen Hanna. One of the songs, Oh Father, brought Danika to the nation’s attention as a finalist in Triple J’s Unearthed High competition.

Another was the completion of a 60,000-word young adult novel by 21-year-old writer Clare Douglas from Nashua, under the guidance of mentor author/illustrator/graphic designer Martin Chatterton. During the mentoring period Clare also collaborated with Martin on a short story for a new anthology, soon to be published by Random House.

Arts Northern Rivers acting CEO and regional arts development officer Julie Clark says, ‘All of the 12 participants in the project have made incredible progress, and should be extremely proud of their achievements. The standard of presentations we saw was exceptional, from Ruby Teather’s beautifully choreographed dance performance to Ria Tierney’s stunning photographic study, Alex King’s reflective short film, Jaz Who’s stunning wearable art, to name just a few.

‘Arts Northern Rivers has been thrilled to present this program for the first time in 2011, and are already making plans to repeat it in two years’ time, in 2013.

‘I would like to say an enormous thank you to our mentors, who have so generously shared their specialist knowledge, their contacts and their enduring enthusiasm for their professions, in such a way as to set our young creatives on a path for success.’

The ArtStart Northern Rivers Young Creatives Mentoring Project is in an initiative of Arts Northern Rivers, supported by the Department of Education and Training NSW, through their ArtStart Youth Arts Skills Training Program.  For more information go to www.artsnorthernrivers.com.au.

Image: Elizea McLeod, 16-year-old singer/songwriter from Lennox Head, with mentor Melia Naughton of Scarlett Affection. Photo Grant MacIntyre

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