Other than events, discussions and classes, Art Month is a stickler for exploring Sydney via its art scene, with art tours, crawls and precinct nights leaving no gallery unturned. But one of the most promising tours of Sydney’s less-explored art landscape is Go West, which buses out from the Art Gallery of New South Wales this Sunday with artist Tom Polo at the helm. The mission? To discover the artistic enclaves of the western suburbs.
“I don't think [the west] is so much different as it is a wider community of people who visit these venues – and so they should,” says Polo. “For me, like many others, galleries in western Sydney are no longer new and are a significant part of the creative fabric that is wider Sydney.”
It’s a full day of exploration encompassing well-established spaces that you may never have thought to visit. There are discussions, performances, talks and giveaways from artists who live and work locally, as well as insight into how the west has helped to shape the substance of their work. There are snacks provided to sustain you through the day too. [fold]
Go West will drop into Casula Powerhouse, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Blacktown Arts Centre and Parramatta Artists Studios. “It's important to acknowledge that each of these venues offer a wide range of ways communities may engage with them,” says Polo. “Parramatta Artists Studios, for instance, which has been running since 2006, provides subsidised, affordable studio residencies to up to 15 artists at any one time. The Studios acknowledge the importance of cultural production and process in addition to seeing finished works.”
Because their locales are so culturally diverse, these centres and studios offer sundry stories, alluding to the shear cultural breadth of the world. Put simply, they endorse inclusion rather than alienation. “In addition to showcasing existing local, national and international practices, Campbelltown Arts Centre also commission Australian and international artists to develop new projects that work with local communities and school groups,” says Polo. “It's art that is informed by the audience and therefore becomes ingrained within the community.”
Most of the west’s arts centres these are multi-disciplinary outfits housing dance, theatre and exhibition spaces, studios and educational programs – and you might find a sculpture garden and Japanese garden along the way.
These are true arts hubs. Whether you’re a creator or just deeply interested in the creative process, Go West lets you explore a broad and progressive arts community, thriving in the outer suburbs.
Sunday, March 10 10am–4pm
Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Road