Arts Program

Image: Wagga Comedy Fest. Supplied: Eastern Riverina Arts

Celebrating Arts in The Riverina! 

Artstate Wagga Wagga 2020 will showcase the rich and diverse cultural identity of the Riverina region of NSW. The Arts Program celebrates the work that always happens here, from the deep cultural connections of the Wiradjuri people, to our established artists and cultural organisations, and to the confidently emerging voices that are shaping our region’s futures.

Artstate 2020 recognises the role ongoing collaborations across the region, across the state and across the globe, play in nurturing our cultural landscape, a landscape that supports artistic development, community participation, creative relevance, and most of all the unique and talented artists who call the Riverina home.

Each day of Artstate will commence with a morning call from the balcony of the Civic Theatre broadcast across the city through some of the biggest car stereos Wagga Wagga has to offer.

The opening ceremony on the Thursday acknowledges the importance of Wiradjuri culture and the reclamation of the Wiradjuri language. Set on the banks of the Wollundry Lagoon, the opening ceremony will cement the name Wagga Wagga as ‘a place of many dances and celebrations’.

Throughout Artstate, the arts program will offer the premier of a new performance work by the CAD Factory, music from around the world in our intimate onstage venue, a guided light and sound walk by the Murrumbidgee River, poetry and prose and a surprise around every corner. Each night the festival club local bands will get you dancing and an assortment weird and wonderful drag, cabaret and burlesque performers will keep you entertained.

The region’s visual artists will be showcased in three exhibitions. Something to Say curated by Sarah McEwan and Julie Montgarrett; OLD:NEW curated by Kate Allman shows contemporary responses to the unique objects found in our regions museums and a survey exhibition of Riverina artists curated by Eastern Riverina Arts Executive Director, Dr Tim Kurylowicz. The ambition and scope of the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery will be on display through its exhibition program and late-night curated program.

Saturday concludes with a community concert in the Victory Memorial Gardens and a closing spectacular, Reflecting Hope. Using state of the art lighting technology and the surface water of the Lagoon to reflect the light, reflect on the past, and reflect on the future, this promises to be an event not to be missed.

The program concludes with a free concert on Sunday morning. Talented students from the Riverina Conservatorium of Music will join with young musicians from across country NSW to perform in the Regional Youth Orchestra’s finale concert in the Civic Theatre on Sunday morning. This orchestra was first established for ARTLANDS Dubbo in 2016, and has remained as a favourite feature at all Artstates. The concert is produced in association with the NSW Regional Conservatoriums Association.

In developing the Arts Program, my aim is to let the work of our artists and their contributions throughout this region speak loudly about who we are. The artists and their works presented here are not just something for Artstate, they are part of ongoing practices and commitment to expanding participation in the cultural life of this region. I have lived in this region for over twenty years, I have watched artists develop their practice here and then take it to the world. I have watched people from all over the world come here and share with us new ways of making. I have watched Aboriginal people share old ways of living with us. I hope this arts program shares a little of that experience with you.

Scott Howie

Arts Program Director