The Geelong Arts Centre launches its wistful Winter Escape Season

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After a year of cancelled events and a winter spent indoors, now is the time to jump back into the world. The Geelong Arts Centre has launched its 2021 Winter Escape Season to help you do it.

Geelong’s home of all things performing arts, the Geelong Arts Centre is no stranger to a killer season of events, stage shows and spectacles. Their upcoming Winter Escape Season is setting a cracking pace as their coolest yet with performances from some of Australia’s most exciting creatives.

Held across three spaces – Ryrie Street Building, the redeveloped Costa Hall and The Pier – the season consists of dizzying cabarets, operas, theatre and comedy, as well shows from our First Nations performers, all in a COVID-safe way.

“We are thrilled to return to the home of Where Creativity Meets, in both Costa Hall and Ryrie Street, to provide the G21 community with a Winter Escape in the comfort of their very own backyard; connecting them to world-class performances and multi-arts experiences,” Geelong Arts Centre Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director, Joel McGuinness said.

From big name acts like Isaiah Firebrace performing his huge pop hits, to quirky comedy lectures about Love Song Dedications by the group Ten Tonne Sparrow, there’s a night of entertainment for everyone at the festival. Other events include the gripping play Prima Facie by the Griffin Theatre Company and Carmen the opera from Opera Australia. A full list of shows can be found on the Geelong Arts Centre website.

Tickets are on sale now for individuals, groups and multi-passes. Audience capacities are strictly limited, so be sure to get in quick. After all, what better way is there to get warmed up over winter other than some electrifying performances?

WHAT: Geelong Arts Centre 2021 Winter Escape Season
WHERE: Geelong Arts Centre | 81 Ryrie Street, Geelong
WHEN: 29 May – 30 October 2021
MORE INFO: Geelong Arts Centre

A florist’s plea for all to wake up and smell the roses

Words by Della Vreeland
Images Supplied

Katie Marx’s relationship with the natural world can be described as thus.

“A lifetime love affair.”

Growing up on a farm in regional New Zealand, the florist says she was instilled with an affinity for her surroundings from a young age.

“Mum was a landscaper, so we had this incredible garden growing up, and I don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t have a patch of garden where I was allowed to plant my own stuff,” Katie recalls.

But it wasn’t just her farmhouse lifestyle that conjured Katie’s love for the earth. For the mother-of-two, being immersed in nature is seen as a form of meditation.

For me, going for a bushwalk or camping and having that stillness seems like a real meditation.

“Our family goes camping as much as we can, and it’s being in nature with no other people around, and the stillness and life that is going on around you, that I adore so much.

“I love walking through the Australian bush and driving past places that may not seem like anything at first glance. But when you take notice and you see that detail and beauty in everything – it brings me so much joy.”

Katie decided to officially harness her passion for flowers and foliage into a business venture over a decade ago, launching her very own floristry business out of her humble kitchen bench in Northcote.

Fast forward 14 years, and she is currently based in Newstead with her partner, Greg, and their two girls.

Her family are the proud owners of the multi-purpose hub that is Butterland – a former butter factory lovingly restored into a space where heritage, nature and creation combine.

Katie says it took close to six months to return the factory back to its former glory, with the building also used as a candle factory up until 2009.

Since taking over ownership, Katie and Greg have transformed the heritage-listed property, celebrating its history while giving it a whole new lease on life.

The space plays host to many number of events, weddings, workshops and soirees, each characterised by Katie’s incredible floristry and underlined by her strong work ethos which is based on a love for native fauna and the use of seasonal and sustainable materials.

“I’ve always had a strong connection to nature and I hope my work makes other people aware of their connection too.

“I want people to look closely around them and realise that they don’t have to buy stuff all the time. There are so many beautiful things we can use in our everyday lives.”

A huge advocate for supporting local growers and industry, Katie is also part of a sustainable floristry project which is devoted to promoting mindful floristry.

“I try not to preach or be a martyr. It’s just about trying to make the florists coming through a bit more mindful in their work,” she says.

“Just because your grandmother was a florist and did it one way, doesn’t mean you have to.”

Katie’s passion is real. Her love affair with flowers and foliage is clear. Her desire to maintain natural beauty for generations to come is more than apparent.

“I love regional Victoria and can’t imagine ever moving back to the city. I’ll always be a country girl now.”

To find out more about Katie’s work, as well as her workshops and events, hit up the Butterland website.


WHAT: Butterland
FIND OUT MORE: Butterland

Say hello to ‘Cultural Exchange’, Bendigo’s newest art and culture hub

When you think of artistic and cultural hubs, Bendigo may not initially spring to mind. But that’s all changing thanks to a new dedicated space for artists to develop, create and share their work – right in the centre of town.

Meet ‘Cultural Exchange’, Bendigo’s latest artistic zone for Indigenous and multicultural artists. Housed in the recently renovated and restored Beehive Building, the space is the first of its kind in the region. The modus operandi? An inclusive, vibrant home for culturally diverse artists to share both art and culture with the wider community.

Inside the historic building there are art studios, performance and rehearsal space, art workshops and classes – all open now and accessible to the public. And if you’re in the mood for a window shop (or a real shop), there is a gallery space and a gift store where you can purchase handmade treasures by local artists.

Unlike many gallery spaces, the Cultural Exchange will showcase a dynamic display of the latest works by the resident artists, with new pieces going on the walls as soon as they’re completed. That’s great news for locals and day trippers alike who’ll get the chance to spy new work every time they stop by.

The launch a momentous occasion for the community of Bendigo who have been longing for a cultural centre point for years now. And the crew at Multicultural Arts Victoria Bendigo are the ones to thank. Alongside the 20-30 artists who now practice at the space, they’ve made one of regional Vic’s freshest arts and culture hubs possible. We think that’s a little bit great.

WHAT: Cultural Exchange
WHERE: Beehive Building, 18-26 Pall Mall, Bendigo
WHEN: Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
MORE INFO: Multicultural Arts Victoria

OHO in ISO: Debra Mcfadzean from Shape & Line

Images supplied

Debra Mcfadzean has been a professional photographer for 20 years. She shoots Interior, Lifestyle, Food, Portraiture and Travel. Debra’s philosophy towards her work is ‘I’m always, always looking’ for grace and symmetry and kind of wabi-sabi elegance and she finds these elements come together in unusual hidden places sometimes.

How has your photography business been affected by COVID-19?

My art print sales went up which I was a bit surprised about. I guess with people stuck at home they decided it was a good time to redecorate.

However, the commercial work took a pretty big hit, with most jobs in the pipeline cancelled in a matter of days of each other which was worrying at the time. The jobs are still there to be done when restrictions permit so it should work out ok.

Who have you been in lockdown with?

My daughter Harriet, partner Geo and our two dogs Alby and Tikki, the dogs have been the real winners in recent times, with lots of walks and attention for them.

What do you think have been the positives of this crisis?

I have used the extra time, like many, to forge ahead with new business development and work on plans and ideas that had been lurking in my mind but I hadn’t had the time to implement.   

On a social level, it’s been great watching my local community support local businesses and seeing families out riding their bikes and spending lots of quality time together.

Also, I’ve had more time to cook overly elaborate dinners and drink wine. A lot of wine.

What have you been watching or reading?

I got the Masterclass series and have been watching a lot of those. I’m reading Leigh Sales Any Ordinary Day now and next up is Jedidiah Jenkins To Shake the Sleeping Self.

What adventures are you planning as restrictions ease?

I am hoping to get to Perisher for the snow season this year with my family and will be making a trip to Sydney to shoot some landscapes for my fine art collections as soon as I can.

I think I’ll also pop up north for some sunny days too.

The Details:

Have a browse of Debra Mcfadzean’s original photographic artworks that have been taken at beautiful locations across Victoria over on OHO Markets. We can’t promise that you won’t be tempted to purchase one.

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. 



WHAT: Upstream – Festival of Art + Culture
WHERE: Albury/Wodonga
WHEN: 6th – 9th March

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 if you know of any others.

High Country Comeback

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.

Gather Festival

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.

Art Aid Gippsland

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.

King River Brewing

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.

Hitch to the Sticks – Bushfire Benefit

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.

Brighter Days

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.

Shop 2 Support

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.

It’s My Shout

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.

Spend With Them

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.

Go Fund Me

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.

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


WHAT: Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion
WHERE: Bendigo Art Gallery, 42 View Street, Bendigo, Vic 3550
WHEN: 17 Aug 19 – 10 Nov 19
More information:

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.


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.