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May 18, 2022

Meet the new Byron Chamber president

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Jason Bentley, founder and owner of Art & Wine Co Byron Bay & AURORA AR/VR, has taken the reins as president of the Byron Bay Chamber of Commerce.

He replaces lawyer Mark Ryan, who held the position for nearly two years.

Given music and art are some of his passions, Jason says that, as chamber president, bringing creativity to the Bay is one of his priorities.

A cornerstone of the Byron experience economy

‘A thriving arts sector is a cornerstone of the Byron experience economy, and we should be doing all we can to support the many talented local artists and musicians who live here. We hope to start a new Byron Renaissance in 2022’.

Located in the heart of Byron’s CBD, the former Pegasus bookshop premises, Jason’s business, Art & Wine Co Byron Bay, ‘offers a unique, hands-on sensory experience, where experienced local artist teachers take informal painting and ceramics classes for adults and creative art classes for kids’.

He says, ‘Adults enjoy a glass of wine and enjoy live music, while watching the sunset over Byron Bay’.

‘It’s a wonderful social experience that connects local community to travellers coming through the Byron Shire.

Inspired to establish a creative arts studio

‘It’s a popular activity in the cities, and we were inspired to establish a creative arts studio in the heart of Byron Bay’.

Jason and his family relocated from Sydney three and half years ago, ‘So our little girls, Violet and Eden, are more connected to nature, the ocean, and the like-minded community of families that live in the Northern Rivers’.

For the past six years, Jason has also been executive director and producer at AURORA XR/VR/AR, a production agency that explores commercial and creative applications of virtual and augmented reality.

Jason says one of the recent highlights with his company was a partnership with software company ATLASSIAN.

‘With all their associates locked down at home, we designed a world’s first – an Augmented Reality Doorway – that allows their associates to walk through onto a stage with their favourite DJs and musicians, connecting thousands of people in a moment across the world’.

Byron Bay XR Collective

He says AURORA is also a founding member of the Byron Bay XR Collective, that is working with local XR/AR/VR creatives and developers to explore META & WEB 3.0.

‘We wanted to build a community to explore new frontiers of immersive technology that also creates pathways and mentors the new generation of animators, designers, developers, and film-makers across the Byron Shire’.

Jason says, ‘What makes Byron Bay unique is the people, the diverse characters and personalities exploring non-traditional pathways for their families and friends’.

‘It’s a tight local community where there is authentic care and respect for each other and the environment’.

Future plans with the chamber

As for future plans with the chamber, Jason says he is working with Council on making sure planning is inclusive and well planned for the town and Arts and Industry Estate.

‘We want to set a long-term agenda with partner affiliates Council, government, and destination tourism associations to focus on the unique aspects of the Byron experience.

‘Our chamber events in 2022 will focus on creating connections for local businesses to share insights, challenges, and explore collaboration opportunities to grow together’.

To get involved with the chamber, visit www.byronbaychamber.com.


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