They said no, but we still bought the building

How a regional community of artists cemented its future.

In 2012, the idea of an arts festival in the once booming regional town of Kandos – about three hours from Sydney – took root.

Taking its name from the town’s colossal cement works (operating 1914-2011), the Cementa Festival embraces a highly immersive, slow-burn approach, which aims to embed viewers in the heart of a regional arts community.

While the growth of any regional arts event over a decade deserves saluting, the ambition to ensure it’s sustainablity for the next decade and beyond – in this case by the purchase of a community hall – is an instructive story for any ARI (artist-run initiative).

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina