Dive into art and culture at Upstream Festival

Words by Penny Cordner 
Images supplied

Four days, two cities, one festival. Immerse yourself in some of the best local and national art and cultural experiences this March at Albury-Wodonga’s ‘Upstream – Festival of Art + Culture’ (March 6-9). 

This family-friendly festival is a celebration of collaboration and connection, with Wodonga Council and AlburyCity coming together to celebrate their shared diversity and creativity. With everything from jazz music and one-of-a-kind dance troupes to art installations and circus performers, these four days promise to surprise and delight at every turn.  

Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie is excited for the wider community to embrace all the festival has to offer.

“The great thing about this festival is that it is for everyone – families, art lovers, visitors, locals. Everyone will find something to enjoy,” says Speedie. 

The festival opens at Noreuil Park foreshore on Friday night (March 6). Catch a set from the energetic Shirazz Jazz Band, be awed by the twists and tumbles of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus and keep an eye out for the laser show along the banks of the Murray River. Take part in a giant game of chess, and then head to one of the food trucks or dessert stations to refuel. 

“Kicking off the festival on our beautiful foreshore with music, acrobatic feats, food trucks and an amazing laser show over the river will truly set the scene for the four days,” says Albury City Mayor Cr Kevin Mack.

Kicking off the festival on our beautiful foreshore with music, acrobatic feats, food trucks and an amazing laser show over the river will truly set the scene for the four days.

Another not-to-be-missed event is the family-friendly Messy Arty Party (Saturday 7 March). This action-packed session will tire kids of all ages. Join in the Colour Run – where you’ll be covered in a rainbow of chalk from head to toe as you complete various challenges, or keep cool at Water Works – a mobile water structure. Embrace your inner musician by signing up to make your very own percussion instruments, get creative and take part in Clay Play, or challenge someone at Waterbomb Volleyball. Whichever way you go, there is fun for the whole family. 

In the afternoon, head to the Cube Chill-out Session where you will enjoy a range of local performers including resident company PROJECTion Dance. There will also be complimentary nibbles, giant games and you can grab a drink at the pop-up bar.

In the evening, it’s all about the Upstream Street Party with many performances to choose from. Make sure you catch one of three shows from The Three Belles – a whirlwind of dance perched atop five-metre sway poles in Richardson Park (Saturday 5.15pm, 6.40pm and 8.05pm). 

Art-lovers should immerse themselves in the swirling droplets of Flow States – an installation inspired by the Murray River, which has been made from hundreds of droplets of tissue paper, or enter the Neon Forest and navigate through a kaleidoscope of treetops to uncover hidden objects. 

There’s even an eight-minute puppet experience, ‘Nightmare,’ which is performed inside a horse float to an audience of just eight.

Sunday, March 8 brings a Market of Curious Things, with beautiful handmade trinkets and keepsakes, as well as performances of Mexican and Latin American music and the local Murray Riverina Jazz Orchestra. 

“We have a fantastic arts and cultural industry here on the border and this will be a great opportunity for local and visitors alike to experience it all including our public art trails and galleries,” says Mack. 

The festival name is inspired by the natural landmark of the Murray River (the meeting point of the two cities) and the idea that to ‘go upstream’ is to go against the current, encouraging you to try new and unexpected experiences. 

#getbacktohighcountry


THE DETAILS:

WHAT: Upstream – Festival of Art + Culture
WHERE: Albury/Wodonga
WHEN: 6th – 9th March
MORE INFO: upstream.org.au

Go Direct – Grassroots Bushfire Relief Fundraisers

Words by Ruth Meighan 
Images supplied

I think it’s safe to say that all of us have been affected, either directly or indirectly, by the 2020 bushfires that are still burning. The silver lining in all this devastation is the incredible upswell of support from the Australian and international community.

It really does make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to see so many people, from all walks of life, dig deep into their pockets in order to help out those who have lost so much – including such great losses to wildlife.

However, questions have been raised in the media about how much of these funds actually reaches the intended target. It’s a touchy subject and not our role to dig too deep there; instead, we thought we would put together a list of grassroots fundraising activities that aim to support the affected communities directly.

Please email hello@ohomedia.com.au if you know of any others.

High Country Comeback
#notevenanhourout

So much of the prolific tourism trade of January was lost when the evacuation notices were given to the North East of Victoria. Visitors to the region had to cancel their holidays and locals had little to no income. High Country Comeback is an event that brings the food, drinks and fun of the High-Country to your doorstep!

On Sunday, Feb 2nd 2020, you can see all that the North East has to offer, with no need to pack the car and get a dog sitter! Head to The Timber Yard, Port Melbourne – Door entry is a donation to the NE Vic local CFA brigades and wildlife rescue organisations. 

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/high-country-comeback-tickets-91107518039

Gather Festival
#fourhoursout

Showcasing more than just music, Gather Festival (Feb 08 2020), embraces the “sweet life” of the high country, with a family-friendly vibe. Take your mountain bike and enjoy the trails before putting on your dancing shoes and revelling with some delicious ales! You’ll be supporting local musicians, the hospitality industry and boutique crafters.

Hosted by the fire-affected community of Mt. Beauty, come and soak in the beautiful surroundings whilst grooving along to the likes of Dallas Frasca, Sarah McLeod, Richard Perso and many more. Bring the kids, a picnic rug and support this beautiful little town. All profits will go to local emergency services. 

https://www.gatherfestival.com.au/

Art Aid Gippsland
#threehoursout

For a bit of culture whilst on your #roadtripforgood visit the Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale and view the Art Aid Gippsland exhibition (15th Feb – 15th March 2020). Numerous artists have donated works – over 500 in fact! These works will be auctioned at the conclusion of the exhibition. 

Entry is free with the auction taking place at 4pm of March 15th 2020 at The Wedge Performing Arts Centre. All funds raised will go to  Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF), supporting those who lost their homes in the devastating bushfires.

http://www.gippslandartgallery.com/exhibitions/

King River Brewing
#threehoursout

The day before having to evacuate, the brewers at King River Brewing had already added #thankscfa to their barcodes! Now that they are back in the brewhouse and making the most of what’s left of the summer trade, they are allocating 50% of profits from sales of their Summer Ale to the CFA Relief Fund.

Before you head off on your road trip, check out #beerforbushfirerelief to see who else is doing an ongoing fundraiser.

http://kingriverbrewing.com.au/

Hitch to the Sticks – Bushfire Benefit
#threehoursout

Superjesus Official, Dallas Frasca, Barry Morgan’s World of Organs! Does it get any better? Yes, it does…this family-friendly fest is setting out to raise lots of coin for Victorian Bushfire Appeal and Blaze Aid. 100% of profits from merch and donations on the day plus profits from the event. 

But wait, it keeps getting better – kids under 13 are free! If you’re quick enough you can even book the bus and stay overnight in the Mohyu locale – the gateway to the King Valley. This will be a day of celebration, and you can bask in the knowledge that you will be directly helping communities in need.

https://ahitchtothesticks.com/hitch-series/

Brighter Days
#threeandahalfhoursout

Since its inception 7 years ago, the Brighter Days Festival has always had community & family support at its heart. A 3-day event combining music, bikes & cars into a family friendly atmosphere.

Initially set up to give support to The Cooper Trewin Memorial (SUDC) Research Fund, DEBRA Foundation and The EB Research Foundation. Every year the foundation looks to give additional funds to those in need and 2020 will see them contributing to the CFA Ovens Valley Group of Brigades – you can support the local bushfire relief effort by purchasing a festival ticket, raffle ticket or merchandise.

https://www.brighterdays.org.au/

Shop 2 Support
#everywhere

A Facebook-based platform for fire-affected businesses to make their presence known. If you’re planning a holiday check out the numerous posts – you’ll find everything from online products to amazing accommodation deals.

The beauty of this platform is you get to directly support the people who are doing it the hardest, which then feeds back into the local community. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/S2SBFC/about/

It’s My Shout
#fourhoursout

At a time when East Gippsland should have been booming with tourists, the bushfires were tearing through the landscape. Leaving local business owners with not only the possible loss of their homes, but also their livelihoods. 

This is where #itsmyshout comes in. This online initiative creates a way to pay it forward to the many affected small businesses. Purchase a virtual item and know that your donation will go directly to the respective business. 

https://www.itsmyshout.com.au/

Spend With Them
#everywhere

It’s one thing to donate to a worthy cause, but many retail and produce companies are sitting on stock that they haven’t been able to move due to the bushfire emergency that hit Victoria in January. Inspired by #buyfromthebush a support network for drought-affected areas, “Spend With Them” gives fire-affected businesses the opportunity to showcase their wares to a larger audience. 

Highlighting brilliant regional products like, ‘Better than Sex’ brownies from @milchcafebar in Falls Creek Victoria and ‘Memphis Style BBQ sauce @alpinesauceco. These are both perfect examples of the entrepreneurialism required to keep small, family-owned cafes afloat. 

https://www.instagram.com/spendwiththem/

Go Fund Me
#everywhere

Even though GoFundMe take a percentage of donations, at the very least you are able to read the personal plights of the individual or organisation. Do a search with the keywords, “bushfire” “Victoria” “wildlife” and see how you can make a difference. 

https://au.gofundme.com/

Exclusive Exhibition – ‘Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion’

Words by Penny Cordner 
Images supplied

Regarded by many as ‘The Master’ of haute couture, Cristóbal Balenciaga was one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century. 

A must see for fashion-lovers and runway admirers, Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion is now on show at Bendigo Art Gallery (17 August – 10 November). This stunning exhibition celebrates Balenciaga’s innovative use of form and structure and provides a glimpse into the life of the trailblazing Spaniard. 

The exclusive exhibition, curated by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, showcases Balenciaga’s work throughout the 1950s and 1960s – regarded by many as the most creative period of his career.

Through a display of more than 100 garments and hats, defined by their sculptural quality, manipulation of textile and dramatic use of colour and texture – visitors will uncover the legacy of this renowned couturier. 

“The exhibition continues our niche of bringing major fashion shows to Bendigo and illustrates Balenciaga’s incredible innovation, his colossal influence and enduring legacy on fashion as we know it today,” says Director of Bendigo Art Gallery, Jessica Bridgfoot. 

As one of the oldest and largest regional galleries in the country,  Bendigo Art Gallery has established strong ties with international institutions in order to bring outstanding fashion and design exhibitions exclusively to Bendigo. 

“Balenciaga was absolutely a seminal figure in the fashion world and we feel that the exhibition is a must-see for anyone with an understanding or interest in fashion,” Jessica says.

Balenciaga was absolutely a seminal figure in the fashion world and we feel that the exhibition is a must-see for anyone with an understanding or interest in fashion.

Not only was Balenciaga revered for his pioneering use of fabrics, but his work went on to redefine the female silhouette in modern times. In the later stages of his career, Balenciaga introduced bubbled, caped and geometric silhouettes never before seen in women’s fashion, refusing to accept the hour-glass shapes of other designers of his time.  

Balenciaga’s radical ‘sack dress’ proved that freedom of movement and comfort were embraced by women, and he was responsible for revolutionary shapes such as the tunic, baby doll and shift dresses – all of which remain fashion staples today. 

The exhibit also provides a unique insight into Balenciaga’s creative process – with archive sketches, patterns, photographs, fabric samples and catwalk footage included alongside the garments. 

Thanks to a collaboration with X-ray artist, Nick Veasey and a digital pattern-making project with the London College of Fashion, visitors are able to uncover more of his creative process than ever before. This new, forensic investigation into the garments reveal the details that made Balenciaga’s work so extraordinary. 

Highlights of the exhibition include the Tulip Dress – with its gravity defying layers, and the Opera Coat, which frames the wearers face as if emerging from a flower.  

There are also ensembles made for American actress and singer, Ava Gardner and dresses and hats belonging to 1960s fashion icon, Gloria Guinness. Visitors will also find pieces worn by Mona von Bismarck – one of the world’s wealthiest women, who once ordered more than 150 Balenciaga garments in one season!

 Balenciaga’s own work is followed by that of some of his protégés and other notable designers who continue his legacy by drawing on his passion for innovation and modernism. Work from designers such as Issey Miyake, Iris van Herpen and Emanuel Ungaro are on show alongside pieces from the current designer of House of Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia.

Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion is exclusively showing at Bendigo Art Gallery – just two hours north of Melbourne. There are a number of great places to refuel before or after the exhibit, including the eclectic Bendigo Wholefoods & Kitchen and the outstanding Masons of Bendigo


THE DETAILS

WHAT: Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion
WHERE: Bendigo Art Gallery, 42 View Street, Bendigo, Vic 3550
WHEN: 17 Aug 19 – 10 Nov 19
More information: https://www.bendigoregion.com.au/bendigo-art-gallery/exhibitions/balenciaga-shaping-fashion

Shepparton Art Museum

Regional art museums, if you’ll pardon the pun, are in the midst of a renaissance. OHO’s recent visit to Gippsland Art Gallery was an eye-opener, and Shepparton’s Art Museum (SAM) is no less a delight.

There’s a core thread of indigenous art, both traditional and contemporary. But there’s also a significant collection of work by women collected over decades, which now forms one of the most significant collections of its kind in Australia. Along with a strong focus on ceramics (including the Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award and the national Indigenous Ceramic Art Award), SAM is a compelling reason for art lovers to make a road trip to Shepparton.

The museum is (for now) housed in the multi-purpose space in Shepparton that includes the performing arts centre and an adjacent cafe. Soon, the new development will enable it to show much more of the collection as well as temporary shows by contemporary artists.

Arlo Mountford’s video installations echoed the kind of show you’d expect from much larger institutions like MONA. Upcoming shows promise just as much. Perennial favourites from the collection like Sam Jinks “Woman and Child” is a must-see piece of art. In fact, director Rebecca Coates says that locals show loving concern when the piece is moved – such a part of the community she has become.

Montsalvat

A Bohemian icon for decades, Monstalvat sits in the bushland just outside of Eltham, about half an hour from Melbourne. It’s been an artist colony since it was founded by Justus Jörgensen in 1934 and is an eclectic collection of buildings rambling across an expansive garden property.

The large halls house galleries, which host exhibitions and functions with a bohemian edge. The smaller buildings house studios for resident artists – painters, jewellers, potters, textile designers, glass artists, sculptors and writers. Some of these artists have work for sale in the larger retail space, some offer classes where you can come to learn their techniques.

Montsalvat is rich in the art history of Australia and a wander through the sprawling gardens is the perfect way to slow down from whatever fast-paced life you’re taking a break from.  When you’re exploring the grounds and the great halls, and see the pool, the small artist studios and dwellings, it’s easy to imagine being part of the bohemian movement that was inspired by the vibrancy of the surrounds.

The cafe on site is a nice place to stop and recharge, but don’t let your exploration stop there. Take in the various exhibits and spend some time with like-minded people. Who knows, you might find inspiration from the surrounds like Justus Jörgensen.