Blue Mountains City of the Arts Trust Grants gives green light for six projects

For about a handful of Blue Mountains artists, a recent funding decision by Blue Mountains Council means their projects will go “from a dream to reality” this year.

At the July council meeting funding recommendations of the Blue Mountains City of the Arts Trust Grants assessment panel were approved. The council allocates $50,000 each year to the Trust to administer the program.

From lanterns on Wentworth Falls Lake, to a cabaret circus show with performers hanging from trapezes, there will be plenty to enjoy thanks to council’s arty gift.

The grant program opened in March and closed in May with the panel meeting in June to consider the applicants.  In 2016, 14 applications were received with eight recommended by the panel to go ahead. This year ten eligible applications were received with six put forward by the panel to the council requesting a total of $42,800 in funding

The projects approved include the City of the Arts Young Writers’ Program through Varuna Writers’House ($8,000), the Blue Shorts Film Festival through the Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre ($5,000), Sensory Projects (live classical concerts for those with special sensory needs at $8,000), Lanterns on the Lake at Wentworth Falls ($7,500), as well as the Ah Ha Circus (a cabaret performance by the Blue Mountains Artists Network costing $7,000) and Observatory Latitude 33 42 Longitude 150 29 (a contemporary art project on the Linden Observatory for $7,300)

“I'm very happy with the recent funding decision,” Stuart Christie of the Blue Mountains Artists Network told the Gazette.  The group put forward the Ah Ha Circus proposal. 

“The difference it will make to my project brings it from a dream to reality.” Mr Christie said the nature of his business meant he travelled a lot around Australia and overseas and this gave him the chance to share his project locally.

“The opportunities to perform circus and physical theatre in the mountains are limited. Hence my motivation to create a space for that purpose and share it with my local community,” he said.

The circus style cabaret will be held in the City Art Gallery space at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, transforming the area into a late night cabaret style setting with multiple stages, performers hanging from trapezes with musicians and acrobats.

The first of his three shows will be held on October 21.

Also an evening event, artist Miriam Williamson said the Linden Observatory curated project would appeal to those with an interest in science and history in addition to contemporary art. 

It will be held on November 4 from 5.30pm through to 10 pm.

“We are very pleased to receive the City of Arts Trust grant to fund the first ever contemporary art installation at the Linden Observatory. Observatory Latitude 33° 42’ South Longitude 150° 29” East  is a curated exhibition of contemporary art by three established Blue Mountains artists drawing on the history of night sky viewing, innovation and technology on the heritage listed site of the Linden Observatory,” she said.

“The title is taken from the handwritten coordinates inscribed on the inside wall of the dome by its creator, amateur astronomer and engineer Ken Beames.” 

Ms Williamson said artists work will incorporate the use of laser, optics, GPS mapping, apps and land art.  The Trust will also run tours and provide telescopes for night viewing. 

The Trust will run tours and provide telescopes for night sky viewing. The project was co-curated by Mahalya Middlemist and the artists are Michael Petchovsky; Graham Davis-King and Brad Allen-Waters.