IS THERE a William Shakespeare in the community? How about a Leonardo da Vinci or perhaps a modern day Michelangelo?
Sascha Lamont entertained the possibility of such a find as she outlined the vision of the Tarwin Valley Digital Art Collection Group. The Leongatha-based artist and art historian was making a presentation last Wednesday to South Gippsland Shire Council alongside fellow member of the Tarwin Valley Sustainability Centre organising committee Andrew McEwen.
“We already have a buzzing vibrant artist community with some exceptional artists, but we need to make the most of what we have,” said Ms Lamont, showing slides of digital art and artists from across the Tarwin Valley – from Venus Bay and Tarwin Lower through Fish Creek to Meeniyan and Koonwarra.
“Art is not a luxury,” she insisted. “It is in the vanguard of economic and social development.” She cited the impact great artists have had on history.
The Tarwin Valley Digital Art Collection Group is in the developmental stage, with a number of artists already involved and more expected to join later.
Mr McEwen said that he envisages the project having a web-based platform, with a range of digital materials featuring local artists in the Tarwin Valley, including digital videos and digital images of collections and studios.
A wide audience will be given access to the artists of the Tarwin Valley through YouTube, Facebook, digital apps, web sites and video presentations at galleries and tourist centres in the South Gippsland Shire and the production of an artist profile and map for a cultural trail. It is hoped it will encourage people to visit – or move to – this area.
Mr McEwen plans to submit a proposal for funding to the Gardiner Foundation’s Advancing Towns Project in the Tarwin Valley. It is intended that the project be managed by a committee of artists and that the funds be sought through a locally incorporated body (Meeniyan Art Gallery Inc).
“The project is not dependent on the proposed Tarwin Valley Sustainability Centre being successful. It would build on existing activities and promote the growth of cultural tourism in the valley. It could be integrated into the current tourist promotion of the villages of South Gippsland,” explained Mr McEwen.
He added: “The artists involved are committed to not only participate in the project, but to upgrade and evolve the project through the development of more artist profiles in the future and promoting the overall concept and trail. It is seen as the initial kernel of a digital arts collection for South Gippsland that promotes a vibrant creative industries cluster for the Tarwin Valley and South Gippsland. Cultural industries today are broader than just the traditional arts and extend into the broader cultural industries, media and communication and industrial design and innovation. They represent four per cent of all employment and are growing rapidly.”