Since 2001 Broken Hill Art Exchange has operated out of a small re-tasked shopping centre in south Broken Hill. Running an Artist Residency program with five studios, and conducting community art events and activities, it's been a popular and exciting destination for many artists and academics over the years. On the flip side, there are over twenty independent galleries, many more emerging professional artists and craftspeople, as well as numerous arts-based groups and societies in Broken Hill that lack a voice or facilities to effectively pursue their practises. BHAE's drive to address such issues and to be a true exchange of ideas, skills and experiences is about to receive its first major boost in sixteen years.
BHAE has been invited to manage the Grand Guesthouse, an iconic heritage building (c.1885) in the middle of town. This location creates a triangle between the office of West Darling Arts (State Govt), Screen Media Broken Hill, and the culture hub bording City Square. BHAE is re-tasking the Grand Guesthouse into a community culture hub, providing a facility for professionals and laypeople to hold and attend events, workshops, exhibitions, functions, and other activities. The building consists of an upper residency level for visitng artists and academics, and a lower courtyard level with a gallery, and rooms for display and workshop areas. The establishment of this hub encourages and invigorates participation in art creation for all skill levels. As a home base, the Grand Guesthouse will enable BHAE to develop and foster closer affiliations with community based interest and arts groups. These groups, while based in Broken Hill, also provide a point of engagement for people across the region of Far West NSW.
Words written about Broken Hill segue from its industrial leadership and its tradition of innovation, to its significant historical and cultural importance, to descriptions of its perfect quality of light. The juxtapositions are apt for Australia's first heritage city: all these things have made it a destination for academics, artists and tourists for over a hundred years. With the development of the Grand Guesthouse as an arts cornerstone the city's pulse will receive a boost and will give its centre a uniqueness quite unlike anywhere else. Its an important step for a place deeply entrenched in the national psyche as a mining city and birthplace of Australia's industry.
BHAE is a not-for-profit organisation staffed entirely by volunteers with years of industry experience in different artforms. An AUSTRALIAN CULTURE FUND campaign has been created to raise funds that will facilitate the move and assist with establishing the new precinct. For full details you can read about the project here:
It is hoped that the Grand Guesthouse, as home to the Broken Hill Art Exchange, will be running by June 2018. Please support this exciting grass-roots community initiative by sharing our campaign with family, friends and associates. You can learn more about the Broken Hill Art Exchange, its Artist Residency program, and its projects by dropping us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting our website.