Artist-in-residence program still on

Artist residence: The Old School house provides studio space and accommodation at Mt Wilson.
Artist residence: The Old School house provides studio space and accommodation at Mt Wilson.

An artist-in-residence program at historic Mt Wilson schoolhouse is set to continue, COVID fingers crossed, with six artists announced for the next round.

Those who will take up residencies from November 2021-May 2022 are: Cadance Bell, an author, writer, producer and director; Brad Gill, a musician and composer; writer Ariella Van Luyn; Natasha Dubler, a multidisciplinary artist; artist Anna Glynn and biologist Peter Dalmazzo; and Jennifer Keeler-Milne, a visual artist.

The popular program started in 2019 after the residents of the little village pitched in to restore the old schoolhouse and school master's cottage which had fallen into disrepair.

The historic buildings were in desperate need of a spruce up, so the community applied for a heritage grant.

This was successful, so most of the year was spent transforming two rundown buildings into a light and airy studio with separate workshop/meeting rooms, and next door, a two-bedroom residence with windows overlooking some of the area's beautiful bush.

They then welcomed their first artist after putting out a call for applications.

The old school provides comfortable accommodation and a large adjacent studio, set in beautiful surroundings. The program presents a unique opportunity to develop new work or explore new ideas in a tranquil, peaceful place.

Each artist gets a month's free accommodation and use of the studio. They are free to be as engaged or as isolated as they choose but before they leave they must all put on an event - be it a performance, workshop, concert, reading or exhibition - to share with the Mountains community.

These are details of the six artists.

Cadance Bell is an author, writer, producer and director. She is working on a fiction manuscript, about a robot and a kitten making their way through the Blue Mountains.

Musician and composer Brad Gill is developing a body of work and creative approach taking meditation, connection with nature and 'deep listening'. He describes his creative process as "embodied and situated, meaning it very much grows out of my physical and spiritual engagement with the particular environment I have the opportunity to work and spend time in."

Ariella Van Luyn works as a lecturer in writing at the University of New England's Sydney campus. She will use her residency to work on the second half of a novel. The novel is an archaeological thriller, set in the near future and ancient past, titled Submerged.

Natasha Dubler is a multidisciplinary artist working across sound installation, music performance and small sculpture. During the Mt Wilson residency, she will undertake research and experimentation for a multi-channel sound work responding specifically to the unique geological features of the Mt Wilson area. Natasha is trained in cello performance and media arts.

Artist Anna Glynn and biologist Peter Dalmazzo will bring differing perspectives to see and describe the world differently but both will work to draw attention to the distinct elements of the natural world. Exploring the Blue Mountains basalt forest endangered ecological community, they will create artwork to focus attention and highlight a stunning and complex environment.

Visual artist Jennifer Keeler-Milne has long been inspired by nature, with an underlying concern to reflect its beauty and mystery in a manner that is evocative and atmospheric. She has had a strong emphasis on drawing in charcoal but recently returned to painting in oils to work in colour. Creating artworks with an emphasis on the natural world not only documents and celebrates it, but inherently brings awareness to its fragility and vulnerability in a time of threat and change.