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Artist Commissions for Pandemic Exhibition

Be Kind – Be Creative is an initiative of the City of Ballarat providing the community an opportunity to respond creatively to the new and changing circumstances of COVID-19.
The Be Kind – Be Creative project will commission eight Ballarat artists to respond to the pandemic crisis. The resulting works will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in 2021.

Four pairs of artists are being commissioned to use their current practises to collaborate with another artist to create artistic responses to the pandemic environment. The collaborations will take place online, as artists are asked to respond to the idea of collaboration within the challenges of social distancing.

The first artists to be commissioned are visual artist Kim Anderson and poet Nathan Curnow. Kim Anderson’s drawing practice explores the physical manifestations of a psyche in turmoil, and the expression of intense grief and anxiety in the face of climate change. Kim’s detailed drawing projects will now be focussed on responding to the current crisis in collaboration with award-winning poet and spoken word performer Nathan Curnow.

Themes in Curnow’s work have ranged from parenting and domesticity, haunted sites and most aptly in his recent book, The Apocalypse Awards, the end of the world
Both these artists have exhibited and have been published widely in Australia and internationally.

Art Gallery of Ballarat Director, Louise Tegart said, “We are excited to be commissioning new work by Ballarat artists that will speak directly to what it means to be in Ballarat at this time. The Art Gallery of Ballarat is committed to supporting regional artists and creativity.”

“The project starts with the premise that there was a world before the COVID-19 crisis and a changed world will be evident afterwards. The exhibition will be of great interest to our community when the crisis has subsided. The commissions allow us to economically support Ballarat’s creative practitioners across a wide range of genres, from music to poetry, ceramics and visual art.”

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Ben Taylor added, “We’re investing in commissioning local artists to respond to and document this unfolding situation. “The City’s cultural response provides an opportunity for everyone to be able to add their creative voice to something greater, and to demonstrate our compassion and care for others. It’s also designed to invest directly in local artists, makers, creatives and related businesses to keep the economic flows moving.
“We’re providing short, medium and long-term opportunities for people to add their voices creatively. We know this forward thinking will set us up for the best possible cultural and economic response and give us much-needed economic resilience when the situation has passed”.

The Be Kind – Be Creative program embeds the Compassionate City and Creative City programs into the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.