Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network launches in Katoomba

More than a hundred people turned out for the recent Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network (BMCAN) launch party and creative leaders awards, held in the Baroque Room, Katoomba on October 18.

BMCAN is the new identity of Blue Mountains Artist Network, the group behind the popular local arts trails and open studios programs.

“We have worked hard with many people including Design Heros’s Mark Alston who designed our new logo, to transform BMAN into BMCAN, which celebrates not only the visual arts, but now all performing and literary arts too,” said BMCAN president Graham Tribe.

The creative leaders awards night is set to become an annual event on the arts calendar, said BMCAN's Barbara Lepani. Ms Lepani first proposed the awards concept late last year. “Mountains Regional Business Chamber celebrates our business leaders, but in this City of Arts, who is celebrating our wonderful creative leaders?,” she said.

"For the inaugural awards, we focused on 11 people from across the arts spectrum who are active in the community, supporting other artists to flourish.”

Audience members were treated to performances by guitarist Bernie White, violinist Maizy Coombes, and poet Greg North, with dancing from Veronica Gilmer, Rika Kristall, Dark Elixir and Jo Clancy. Celebrating the multi-arts theme, the room also featured sculpture by Simon Hearn, floral art by Brigitte Gourdain, “wearable art” by RR Pascoe and two performers were adorned with body paint by Nicole Toms.

The entertainment was curated by Music Hunter's Meg Benson. “It’s a dream come true to be able to demonstrate to our art networks that more of our events and functions can be embellished by dynamic multi-arts curation.”

BMCAN are also looking forward to their initiate Wild Mountain Collective bringing “Encountering the Wild”, another multi-arts festival on December 1.

The BMCAN launch party and creative leaders awards event was supported by Bendigo Bank. The bank's business manager, Vincent Tropiano, said: “I was completely inspired from start to finish at this spectacular event, and got so much more out of attending than I had anticipated. Bendigo Bank is so proud to support community networks such as BMCAN because the impact is far-reaching.” 

The 2018 Creative Leaders Awards, announced by MC Maggie Davies, are:

  • Kelly Heylen (writer and director, Platform Gallery)
  • Chris Cannell (director, Music in the Mountains)
  • Veechi Stuart (author and executive director, Varuna)
  • Faye Wilson (illustrator and publisher, Blume magazine)
  • Natasha Sebire (photographer and co-founder, Vertical Film Festival)
  • Julie Ankers (writer and president, Radio Blue Mountains 89.1)
  • Victor Peralta (artist and co-director, Gallery One88 Fine Arts)
  • Meg Benson (director, Music Hunter)
  • Jo Clancy (dancer and founder, Wagana Dancers)
  • Rae Bolotin (sculptor and founder, BigCi)
  • Ann Niddrie, (photographer and Creative Industries Cluster Manager, Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise BMEE).