Artstate to be presented for the fourth and final time, so join the conversation and celebrate the arts in regional NSW

2 Nov 2020 /

Artstate is a hybrid event – part conference, part arts program – that has travelled across regional NSW for the last four years. Its fourth and final iteration will be in Wagga Wagga from Thursday 5 – Sunday 8 November 2020.


Artstate has been showcasing excellence in arts practice, celebrating the culture of our Aboriginal communities, understanding the different landscapes where regional creatives work, and encouraging ongoing conversation about the role of the arts in a regional context since its inception in Lismore in 2017 and throughout Artstate Bathurst in 2018, Tamworth in 2019 and now Wagga Wagga.


Artstate is one of the first significant art events returning to regional NSW since the COVID pandemic struck, and Regional Arts NSW CEO Elizabeth Rogers is excited to support regional artists and provide creative communities with something to look forward to.


“We were determined not to see more artists and creative events surrender to COVID-19,” said Elizabeth. “While Artstate 2020 is very different from what we had envisaged for our fourth and final event, we are extremely pleased to present Artstate Wagga Wagga with our partner, Eastern Riverina Arts.”


However, those who want to participate in Artstate 2020 do not have to be in Wagga Wagga to do so, as most of the conference and arts programs will also be made available via live stream.


“Traditionally, delegates have always travelled to the regions where Artstate has been held as we wanted them to experience the culture and creativity first hand. But with so many being unable to travel and gather due to COVID-19, we thought it crucial to provide a digital offering so people could still join the conversation and celebrate the arts from wherever they are.”


Artstate will start on Thursday 5 November with a creative and traditional opening ceremony, “WAGGA WAGGA: to dance, to celebrate.” Conceived by Jonathan Jones and created with Senior Wiradjuri elders, the opening ceremony will explain the true meaning of the name Wagga Wagga through the coming-together of sounds, songs, and stories that will deeply connect people to country.


Following the opening ceremony will be two days of a speaker’s conference, where the conversations will centre around the themes “Walking Together” and “Shaping Tomorrow.”  Four keynote addresses will be delivered by Associate Professor Faye McMillan, Award-winning writer, Wongaiibon woman, and wheelchair user Gayle Kennedy, Visual Artist Dr. Erica Seccombe,  and Sydney Dance Company Artistic Director, Rafael Bonachela.


A range of plenary and breakout sessions will also be on offer as part of the conference.


Complimentary to the speaker’s program will be a diverse arts program, comprising of exhibitions, musical and theatrical performances, public installations, written and visual arts, traditional Wiradjuri practices, and more.


Some of the key arts program events that people can attend or tune into via the live stream across the four days include a live performance from Riverina-bred singer-songwriter William Crighton, whose traditional music with experimentation has seen his live performances receive high acclaim across the world.  Riverina Dreaming, which is a performance by  Riverina Conservatorium of Music’s Joshua Prenzler,  of the work that was commissioned by Wagga Wagga City Council by Australian Composer Peter Sculthorpe; live poetry performances at Playhaus: Words&Music; live theatrical performances at Playhaus: Act; live cabaret at Playhaus: Cabaret; and more!


“We hope that everyone is inspired by the diverse showcase of artists’ work from the Riverina and the exciting line-up of speakers in what has been an extraordinarily challenging year.


“It gives me great pleasure to be hosting the fourth and final Artstate on Wiradjuri land in Wagga Wagga. It’s bound to be a great show, and we encourage everyone, from near and far, online or in-person to join as we celebrate the arts in regional NSW!” concluded Elizabeth Rogers.


It’s not too late to join the conversation and celebrate the arts at Artstate! Tune in to the free arts program live stream via  or purchase your digital passes here!


Please note: Several measures will be in place to ensure that Artstate 2020 is presented as a COVID-safe event. Limited numbers, essential bookings, check-ins, social distancing, and strict hygiene practices will be enforced throughout Artstate 2020. Those wishing to attend or participate in Artstate 2020 must abide by these measures.