December Newsletter

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Hello !

As I write the last newsletter for 2020 I am reflecting on the year. Usually written on Dudoroa land, this edition comes from Dharug. Being on different country helps me appreciate how vibrant our communities and landscapes are and how we each respond and inspire by the land.

2020 has been *insert your experience here*. It's no doubt been a difficult year for a multitude of reasons but I've observed the resilience of our communities and seen our artists adapt. Some have rested, some have created, some re-created and some have resisted. We've seen people totally change practices some out of necessity others out of opportunity . It's also seen some of us stop, rest and revaluate. And it's seen some of us do none of these things. 

We've seen a shift to connecting and delivering more of our art online requiring us to adapt both in the way we deliver and consume. And we've seen a shift to working remotely which the staff have at Murray Arts have been doing since the first lockdown.

This year saw Burraja Gallery temporarily close but we now welcome a new curator who we are very excited about, reopen the gallery in the future.

December is the time when we start thinking about gifts and we've been delivered one of the best gifts we could have asked for- the border opening!  After seeing the NSW Borders opened it's been wonderful being reunited with people an places we love. We might have more freedom but we mustn't forget that people are struggling still with the hangover of restrictions and lockdown. 

There's lots of creative events and classes over the summer. A creative class is a good way to connect in a low-key way with other people and share the joy of creating together.  Check out your local art collective, museum, gallery and keep an eye on our socials for upcoming events.

I am grateful for the year that  has helped many of us reprioritise what is important. For me landscape, new connections and lessons , new creative practice, stillness and knowing have been abundant. 

2020- it is what it is.

Nat & the Murray Arts team

Latest News

Welcome Burraja's New Curator!

We are thrilled to welcome Glennys Briggs to the team and the region!
Glennys is on board and will be in full swing in 2021! We are so excited to see what 2021 brings for Burraja Gallery.

Glennys Briggs is a First Nations artist.  She is a Taungwurrung – Yorta Yorta and Wiradjuri elder from New South Wales/Victoria. Glennys grew up on Cummeragunja, which is an Indigenous mission. She was a fourth generation to live and grow up on this mission.  She carries with her, family and cultural histories, which are reflected in her work along with the strong connection to her people and county of her bloodline. Practicing in Printmaking, Possum Skin Cloak Making, Basket Making, Painting and Sculptural pieces. Glennys

Glennys has been a feature of Exhibitions in Australia, China, France and Hawaii. Her artworks, are in collections in the University of Central Queensland, Redlands Art Gallery, Gold Coast Art Gallery, Queensland University/QCA and in private collections across Australia and overseas.
Glennys' hope is that the work she is presents goes some way towards achieving in everyone, a sense of connection of love of land and place wherever they may be in this country.

 Read more about Glennys art practice here and check out her work currently on display in The Cube Wodonga lightboxes. 

Glennys email is 

Photo: Susan Reid
Free Counselling

Earlier in the year the Federal Government announced free counselling for all artists and arts workers.

Even though we are starting to see a reduction in the severity of the pandemic we can still be feeling the effects for some time afterwards and it's not over. And this time of year can be hard for some despite the pandemic.

You can access free online phone or face-to-face counselling no matter what the issue through Support Act. We've had some great feedback on the service from our artists and encourage everyone to take advantage of the sessions no matter how insignificant you think your issue might be.

More info

The Cultural Round Table of the Border North East along with Murray Arts are launching one more round of the UNLOCKED Micro-funding program for 2020.  There are two types of grants available:


  • A series of single payments of $333 to individual artists to spend on materials or equipment for their creative practice.

All artists and creatives who live or work in the Murray Arts footprint are welcome to apply. Thanks to the support of Wodonga Council’s Community Impact Grants, an allocation of these grants will be dedicated to those in the Wodonga Local Government area.


  • A series of $1000 payments to collectives of local independent creatives to work together on a concept, idea or project.

Funded projects may include collaborations on individual works, professional development for collectives, exhibition planning, creating work.


The final UNLOCKED rounds for 2020 are open now and close on Monday December 7 at 5pm.

Successful applicants will be notified by Friday 11 December.

Funding Congratulations Flying Fruit Fly Circus

The Regional Arts Fund Recovery Boost is a $10 million targeted measure announced by the Australian Government in April 2020 as part of the COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund. It responds to the difficulties experienced by regional artists, arts organisations and communities who have been heavily impacted by COVID-19.
We are excited to hear that the Flying Fruit Fly Circus was successful under the RAF Renewal program for long-term support receiving $120,000!

What's On

Tom Strachan Exhibition | Creators Arts Space | Wodonga
4 December opening

Sale of affordable ceramics for the home open 10-4pm 5,6, 12, 13 Dec.
More info

John Dermer Exhibition | Yackandandah

5-13 December

Open 9-5pm each day this annual exhibition thsi year features tableware as well as salt glaze & Terra Sigillata work.
More info

Earth Canvas | Albury LibraryMuseum
Until 7 February

The Earth Canvas exhibition displays works by leading contemporary artists, developed in response to regenerative farming properties situated between the Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers in southern NSW. Looking beyond limiting the impact of industrial agriculture, these farmers actively work to rehabilitate the land and nurture healthy ecosystems.

Inspired by their immersive contact with both the farmer and the landscape, the artists reveal a mutual creativity, appreciation and understanding of the natural forces that sustain us.

Featuring works by Rosalind Atkins, Jenny Bell, Jo Davenport, Janet Laurence, Tony Nott, Idris Murphy and John Wolseley.
More info

Music Tour | Making Lemonade | Toby Mobbs
Multiple dates in NSW & VIC

Making Lemonade Regional Tour 2020 is a six-month undertaking bringing original music to regional towns in New South Wales and Victoria. Sponsored by Atomic Albury, NSW Government, Kwik Kopy Albury, & Blackline Music. The tour is to also promote his debut single 'Making Lemonade' and is available now to stream or download through all major digital retailers.

More info

Art Chat with Mary Jane Griggs | MAMA
10 December

Join local artist Mary Jane Griggs in conversation wtih Sally Denshire and learn more about her art practice, and current work on exhibition as part of 20:20.
More info

Mary's Last Dance | Write Around the Murray Online
10 December 


Mary's Last Dance is the highly anticipated memoir of Australian ballerina, Mary Li – and the long-awaited sequel to her husband Li Cunxin's best selling memoir, Mao's Last Dancer. Join her in conversation about her moving and unforgettable story. 
More info

Focus on Design | Creators Arts Space | Wodonga
17 Dec (ongoing dates)

Get together and thrash around design ideas, elements and principles, to help resolve pieces and push personal boundaries or blockers.  by critiquing works, posing challenges and sharing resources.  As the group focus is on design not technique, it will suit people working in various disciplines. How formal or informal the direction the group goes will come down to the drive of the members.
First meeting 17th December then final Thursday or each month 1pm-4pm
More info 

Pop Up Gallery | Kerrie Docker & Nat Ward | Albury
Until 17 December 

Paintings and ceramics by Nat & Kerrie are on display and for sale in the former Osbournes gift shop on Dean Street.
After a year pf cancelled exhibitions and markets these two artists are excited to share with you their work. Open 7 days

More info Nat Ward  Kerrie Docker



Creative Workers in Schools | Regional Arts Victoria
Closes 7 December (Stream One)

Creative Workers in Schools (CWS) provides the opportunity for 150 creative industry workers to undertake a six-month residency in Victorian government schools, including special schools. Creative workers and Schools will be supported to work together to codesign and deliver an educationally valuable project or set of activities that supports learning across the Victorian Curriculum F–10 over 6 months.

The CWS program offers creative learning opportunities for students that highlight the value of the arts at a time where creative expression, hope and the sense of community are needed more than ever, and provide schools with an alternative approach to address learning objectives through creative projects or activities.  The program will also provide a platform to build relationships and employment opportunities between creative workers and schools.

The CWS program will provide valuable training for creative workers impacted by COVID-19 (coronavirus) to upskill and gain extended experience in working within school and community settings. Through training and mentorships, creative workers will develop transferrable skills for future work opportunities.
More info

EOI | The 2021 Emerging Writers’ Festival 
Closes 9 December 

Each year, EWF opens a call-out for writers and storytellers of all kinds to submit an expression of interest in participating in the Festival. Applicants are invited to share not only their individual work, but their ideas for the events, topics and conversations that they want to be included within the festival.
More info

EOI | City of Wodonga
Closes 13 December

City of Wodonga are calling on artists to express their interest in one or more of the four opportunities within the Call for Expressions of Interest:

🔸 Immersive Space Opening Program - Winter 2021 - Open Call
🔸 MAP Gallery Opening Program - Winter 2021 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Artists
🔸 Immersive Space Program - 2021-2022 - Open Call
🔸 MAP Gallery Program - 2021-2022 - Local Artists

More info

EOI: Co:Lab 2021
Closes 15 January

HotHouse Theatre’s new INDUSTRY Co:LAB is a Pre-Professional Training Program for emerging artists (aged 16 – 24 years at the time of audition) with an interest in pursuing a career in acting and/or theatre making.
Through a slate of skills workshops, laboratory tasks and real-world projects, simulated under professional conditions, Co:LAB participants develop their capacity to deliver arts-based projects independently, using communication, collaboration, critical-thinking and problem solving through creativity. Transferable skills are developed practically under real-world conditions within a supported environment that enables and embraces experimentation, failure, reflection and resilience building.  

More info

Creative Workers in Schools | Regional Arts Victoria
Closes 14 December


Regional Arts Victoria is seeking experienced workers impacted/displaced by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to fill numerous roles within the Project Management team for the Creative Workers in Schools program.

Creative Workers in Schools (CWS) is a new creative residency initiative for Creative Workers and Victorian Government schools. 

RAV are now recruiting for a Statewide Program Manager & Communications Coordinator for the Creative Workers in Schools initiative.
More info

Creative Workers in Schools | Regional Arts Victoria
Closes 5 January 2021

The Regional Area Managers (5 positions) for the Creative Workers in Schools initiative will support local creative workers and schools in a defined region to develop and deliver their residency projects. This will include managing local creative workers, coordinating training and professional development opportunities for creative workers and schools, assist in the development and delivery of the program, dealing with stakeholder enquiries, managing reporting, and ensuring the program meets the needs of local schools across Terms 1, 2 and 3, 2021.
More info

Creative Callout | VIVID Ideas
Closes 15 February

Do you have an idea worth sharing? VIVID are looking for creatives, innovators and agents of change to be part of Vivid Ideas. Vivid Ideas celebrates those that challenge the norm, trailblazers with ground-breaking ideas, the left-field thinkers who see the world differently and the mavericks and the misfits who push the boundary. It could be a talk or workshop, a documentary or podcast, a spoken word performance, a demonstration of cutting- edge technology or an immersive experience that provides a unique perspective. We want your bold, ambitious and thought-provoking ideas and concepts.

Vivid Ideas is a curated program of talks, workshops, and experiences to share knowledge and highlight developments in technology, culture and society. The program showcases the breadth of creativity and innovation that Australia has to offer and explores the forces shaping society both locally and globally.
More info


Quick Response Grants | Regional Arts NSW
Open 1 July 2020 closes 30 June 2021

Made available under the Regional Arts Fund allocation for NSW, Quick Response Grants offer funding for up to $2,000 are intended to assist regional artists, arts organisations and communities to take up professional or skills development or small project opportunities.
More info

Quick Response Grants | Regional Arts VIC
Open 1 October


Quick Response Grants are intended to assist regional artists, arts organisations and communities to take up professional or skills development or small project opportunities.

This program has been set up to be responsive to projects that fall outside the scope of other funding opportunities. Applicants must clearly explain why there is no other suitable funding program for their project.

The Quick Response Grant program is open to applications on an ongoing basis by financial quarter. There will be up to four allocations per year. They will be open on an ongoing basis.
More info

Indigo Shire Community Grants
Closes 13 December

The Community Grants Program provides an opportunity for community groups and organisations to seek funds for projects and initiatives that benefit the community at large, when funds are not readily available from other sources.
More info

Arts Projects for Individuals and Groups | Australia Council for the Arts
2 March 2021

This program funds a range of activities that deliver benefits to the arts sector and wider public, including national and international audiences. Grants are available from $10,000 to $50,000. Supported activities must last no longer than two years from the proposed start date.
More info


RAF Recovery Boost | Renewal | Regional Arts Victoria
Closes 28 January

Renewal (to $125,000 over three years): Renewal grants will provide up to three years of funding to support projects that have strong partnerships and demonstrated long term outcomes, with sustainable future-positioning focus. These projects will be strategic in nature. Collaborations across State and Territory borders will be encouraged. The projects can be process-driven and provide an opportunity to think beyond ‘snap back’ and to consider renewed arts practice and learning processes.

Project activities could include partnership projects, community events or programs, First Nations-led renewal and wages for workers (First Nations worker positions will be encouraged). 

The RAF Renewal program will follow a three-stage application process.
More info

RAF Project Grants | Regional Arts Victoria
Round opens 18 January 2021

RAF Project Grants (formerly Community Grants) – up to $30,000

Project Grants have three categories:

1. Project and Skills Development Grants– maximum amount $30,000

2. Small Festivals Grants – maximum amount $6,000

3. Regional Arts Fund Fellowship – maximum amount $20,000

The Regional Arts Fund is an Australian Government Program that supports sustainable cultural development in regional and remote communities in Australia. It meets the strategic priorities of supporting participation in, and access to, the arts; and encouraging greater private sector support for the arts.

John Villiers Outback Art Prize
Entries close 8 January, 2021

Australian artists are invited to submit painting, drawing, print and/or sculpture works that respond to the theme ‘Outback: A Sense of Place’ for the annual John Villiers Outback Art Prize, presented by the Outback Regional Gallery and the Waltzing Matilda Centre. A suite of prizes are available including the major $10,000 acquisitive award and other cash prizes ranging from $2,000 to $500, in addition to the New Emerging Youth Category, for applicants 15 to 26 years of age, with prizes between $1,500 and $500.
More info

Clarence Prize for Excellence in Furniture Design 2021
Closes 14 February

The biennial exhibition offers an acquisitive prize of $20,000 to the winner and two non-acquisitive prizes of $1,500 each for a highly commended and emerging designer. Entries will be shortlisted based on the quality of aesthetic and craft, and ingenuity in function, purpose, material considerations and sustainability.
More info
Footscray Art Prize
Closes 8 February

The biennial Footscray Art Prize is calling for entries nationally. A record $28,000 in prizes will be awarded over five categories – Footscray Art Prize ($10,000), Street Art Prize ($5,000), Young Artist Prizes ($500 for both primary and secondary students), and entrants may also nominate to enter in the two new sub-categories, the Emerging Artist Prize ($2,000 and Footscray Community Arts Centre Residency) and Local Artist Acquisition Prize ($10,000).

More info

National Portrait Prize 2021 | National Portrait Gallery

Closes 2 March

In a first for the National Portrait Prize’s history photographers are invited to consider the concept of ‘Living Memory’ with a special focus on 2020. The 2021 edition of the Prize will offer the four usual prizes, including the Winning Prize, Highly Commended, Art Handlers’ and People’s Choice Awards. Additionally, the Gallery will be offering a professional development opportunity to an emerging photographer.
More info
Regional Touring Residencies | Critical Stages Touring
Closes 13 December

Got a new work you would like to tour regionally?

Critical Stages is seeking expressions of interest from artists and collectives for a new residency opportunity.
Offering week-long residencies in either metro or regional NSW where you and your team will undergo paid development of a new work intended for future touring to regional communities.
Artists based in regional NSW are strongly encouraged to apply, particularly keen to support works from First Nations writers, performers, and producers and those of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds.
Residencies are available between December 2020 and April 2021
To apply

NAVA Collaborative Mentorship Initiative
Closes 14 December

The Collaborative Mentorship Initiative offers early-career practitioners the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with advising artists and arts workers to inspire confidence and self-awareness, and to build the knowledge, skills and capacity to pursue projects and goals.

This program, to be completed over four months, is based on a mutual mentorship model that provides both the adviser and early-career practitioner space to share ideas and learn from each other.

To acknowledge the contribution of early-career practitioners, they will be paid at a rate of $100/hour for mentoring sessions and check-ins with NAVA in-house support, and an additional $150 for a group induction session.
More info

Murray Arts is Reading

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

This year has seen me realise how much I love reading.

Reading wasn't a huge interest of mine because I like so many others were forced to read novels at high school school and not taught the joy of reading. But in the past year I've read 26 books and counting (I wonder if I can I count the ones I've read multiple times? If so add anther 6). Thanks to the people who ignited my love of reading by thoughtfully recommending books I'd connect with and to COVID19 for the solitude and time to read.

My step mum couldn't believe how quickly I was devouring books and flicked this one my way because she thought I'd like it. She hadn't finished reading it but lent it to me.

This is my first graphic novel. I've never really been one for cartoons but I got into this book because I do love an autobiography. Add in rawness, vulnerability, truths both hard and beautiful and I'm in!  I can't help but think how cathartic this must have been for the author. It's a pretty extraordinary story but I would be surprised if you read it and didn't find parallels with your own family on some level. It's also been made into a musical which was due to show at Melbourne Theatre Company this year and I've just missed the Sydney Theatre Company season but I'm hoping it'll pop up somewhere during 2021. I'm so intrigued to see how this goes from graphic novel to stage.

I don't like warning people about things because sometimes I think it's important to have no preconceived ideas but I feel it would be remiss of me to let you know that there's themes of suicide, sexuality that some people might find triggering.

On a side note, my stepmum had a piece of paper marking the page of where she was up to but I didn't realise it was her bookmark and accidently moved it. I put it back where I thought she was up to. Hopefully by the time she gets back into the book she'll have forgotten where she was up to and if she realises I've lost her place hopefully I'll be long gone. No one likes a lost place in a book. Being lost in life is ok, but not in a book!

Have you read Fun Home? Have you read other graphic novels? What's your chosen way of bookmarking? Tell me here.



Murray Arts is Quoting

Since it's the last newsletter of 2020 I've added a bonus section. Lucky you.
This quote is from my most loved book of the year (I listened to it twice on audio and just finished reading the hardcopy) and these words particularly resonated with me. I thought of the people I love that make good art and those people that ask what makes good art?

“Good art originates not from the desire to show off but from the desire to show yourself. Good art always comes from our desperate desire to breathe, to be seen, to be loved. In everyday life, we are used to seeing only the shiny outer layer of folks. Art makes us less lonely because it always comes from the desperate center of the artist—and each of our centers is desperate. That’s why good art is such a relief.”
― Glennon Doyle, Untamed

May 2021 see you make good art. Ditch the shiny.
Murray Arts contributes directly to the arts and cultural lifeblood of the NE VIC/ Border region by working directly with individuals, communities and local government to assist them in developing the arts and cultural life of their communities.

Copyright © 2019 Murray Arts

44-46 Lincoln Causeway
Gateway Island VIC 3691
+61 (0)2 6021 5034

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Murray Arts gratefully acknowledges funding partners:

Murray Arts acknowledges the traditional custodians and caretakers of the land and waters on which we are privileged to work. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present and encourage everyone to champion our emerging leaders of the future.

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