A stunning performance by the Red Inc Signing Choir set the scene for an afternoon of art entertainment at last weekend’s launch of the new Accessible Arts North Coast Program, Creating Connections.
The 12 choir members, who simultaneously sang and signed, performed a selection of popular songs including True Blue, You Raise Me Up, Lean on Me and Get Up Stand Up to an audience of more than 140 people who had gathered for the event at Northern Rivers Community Gallery in Ballina.
In welcoming the audience to the event, Accessible Arts officer Julie Barratt said that the Creating Connections project was about changing people’s perceptions, and helping artists who live with a disability to gain access to mainstream opportunities.
‘There are already a number of artists with a disability, living locally, whose work is recognised nationally and internationally, and I hope that Creating Connections can help open doors for many others to pursue their art more fully, whether that be visual, performing arts, or musicians,’ Ms Barratt commented.
‘The project also aims to make art more accessible to audiences with a disability, and we will be working closely with interested arts venues on making improvements in this area, for example by making use of Auslan interpreters for hearing-impaired audiences.’
Other acts to perform at the launch included experimental band The Bridge, whose six members are set to travel to eastern Europe later this year, to perform and conduct workshops, and electronic music sensation Tralala Blip, which has gigs booked in capital cities around Australia for the foreseeable future, and three new EPs scheduled for release, in conjunction with various music labels.
Alstonville-based artist Scott Trevalyn was one of 14 visual artists who contributed to an exhibition of works for the launch event. A previous recipient of the Bundanoon Artist in Residence scholarship, run by Accessible Arts NSW, Scott has exhibited widely in Australia.
Speaking at the launch, Scott pointed out that there are enormous opportunities for people with a disability to get involved in both arts practice and appreciation; opportunities that, he said, will only be strengthened by the Creating Connections project.
The exhibition of paintings, drawings, mosaics and prints continues at Northern Rivers Community Gallery until Sunday 4 March.
Creating Connections is a three-year program funded by the NSW government, Department of Family and Community Services, and managed by Accessible Arts NSW.
The North Coast Accessible Arts officer position is located at the Arts Northern Rivers offices in Alstonville.
For more information contact Julie Barratt on 02 6628 0297 or email [email protected].