Pop-up stores create a scene

A NEW pop-up store is reinvigorating Mews Arcade with an exciting selection of Great Southern artworks.

A team of 13 members from Make A Scene Artists Collective have an exciting variety of art pieces ranging from paintings, textiles and photography to felt work, soaps, bath products, jewellery, pottery and home accessories.

The pop-up store is part two of a three-stage project to reinvigorate Albany’s arcades, where artists and tenants work together to create a vibrant space that encourages and increase customer traffic.

Make A Scene Chairperson Maleah Farrell said they want to encourage people to visit places and businesses they might have forgotten about.

“We’re going into Albany’s arcades and reinvigorating the space, activating empty retails spaces and trying to encourage people into spaces they haven’t been into in a while,” she said.

The Collective, which was established in 2014, works alongside other businesses in the arcade to draw in customers as well as provide artists with retail opportunity to sell their work.

“We’ve been working alongside businesses to encourage people into their business,” Ms Farrell said.

“Our objective is to be able to provide artists a retail opportunity to sell their work. It’s a great initiative.”

Make A Scene also offers short workshops for parents to engage with their children in bath product and skin care making, creation of hair accessories and sewing.

The project is supported by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions Program as part of the Regional Arts and Cultural Investment Program, Regional Arts WA and by the City of Albany Creative Enterprise Grant Scheme.

You can visit the pop-up store at Mews Arcade daily 9am-5pm from January 11-27.

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Taking theatre to the streets

IMPROMPTU theatre in the streets of Albany is not something you see every day, but one group is gearing up for a surprise performance.

Southern Edge Arts is offering a Making Theatre Everywhere Masterclass, a practical five-day course where people aged 15- plus will learn and create site- specific theatre performances.

Dr Alan Hancock will be running the course, where the group will pick specific landmarks or locations around Albany and create a piece of theatre to be performed in the public area.

Dr Hancock said they often draw on the locations history and create a theatre performance that’s related to it.

“It can be a kind of street theatre, where you can do it on any street and you’re interacting with passers-by, like what you’ve prob- ably seen before,” he said.

“Or it could be a piece that’s been designed for one particular place, for example if we chose the Brig Amity ship, we might create a piece of theatre around that site, drawing on its history and stories.”

Dr Hancock said the opportunity to create theatre in a new place opens up all kinds of possibilities you wouldn’t come across in a traditional theatre space.

“You’re creating theatre away from the theatre space in a way that they haven’t done before, so it’s something very novel, I find most people get very inspired by it,” he said.

“I find the audience start looking at the place in a different way, they keep expecting art to happen around them.

“I think art is very good at making you look at the world in a different way.”

There’s still a chance to register for the Making Theatre Every- where Masterclass, which will be running from January 18 – 22.

Those who prefer to act as the audience should keep their eyes peeled when walking around town this coming week.

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Blossom at Blush

BLUSH Retail Gallery is hosting a new vibrant art collection from artist Cynthia Orr, showcasing her expression of resilience, hope and perseverance through nature.

Blossom is a colourful, Australian nature inspired collection of acrylic paintings that took her 12 months to create.

Ms Orr was inspired by the events of 2020 to create a collection of 26 paintings that symbolised the rebirth of life after a devastating loss.

“With the things going on in my own life, all the fires over east and in the Porongurup’s and then Covid, this (nature and vegetation) is to symbolise that even when they’re ravaged by fire, they come back and they bloom again so beautifully even when you think they’re dead,” Ms Orr said.

Ms Orr wants people to feel happy and light when they step into the gallery and to feel an emotional tug.

“I think that it is a message of hope for people that no matter what you are going through, there is a season for everything, and it will pass and you will bloom,” she said.

While painting one of her favourites, words came to Ms Orr that she felt deeply resonated with her work and are now words that echo through every painting.

“You will not wilt under the pressure of the heat of the enemy, but … you will bloom in the face of it,” she said.

Blossom will be on show in the Blush Retail Gallery on York Street from January 8-30.

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Passionate printers

PRINTMAKERS from across WA have gathered to exhibit their work in the Museum of the Great Southern this summer.

The South West Print- makers are a group of seven individual artists who were brought together by a passion for printmaking.

The established group of artists have been exhibiting together since 2005, most of whom met through studying visual arts at TAFE and Edith Cowan University in Bunbury.

Artwork from Helen Hulme-Gerrard, Lianne Jay, Janette Trainer, Sue Dennis, Christine Latham, Yvonne Dorricott, and Carol Farmer will be on display.

Their works depict a wide and varying range of printmaking techniques and styles, including lino, wood- cut, etching, stencil and screen-print and cyanotype.

South West Printmakers group member Lianne Jay said the exhibition is designed to bring forth awareness around printmaking and its versatility to the Great Southern.

“As a group we’re trying to be actively out there in the community in sharing our work,” she said.

“We’ve all got different skills, so we share amongst ourselves and we have workshops to educate each other on different skills and techniques.”

The exhibition is located in the Residency Heritage Building at the Museum of the Great Southern, where each room showcases a different artist’s work.

The layout of the exhibition allows visitors to see not only the diverse nature of the works but also the uniqueness of the printmaking artform.

Alongside creating work for exhibition, the group collectively produce an annual ‘print share’ where each artist produces a piece of work in response to a theme, which is then shared amongst each other.

The South West Printmakers see the ‘print share’ as a way to ex- change collectable work and create a survey of

contemporary printmaking in the South West region.

Ms Jay said this year’s theme was to create three-dimensional un- folding work, designed to challenge the artists to try something new.

“We share our works, we get a beautiful collection of prints from everybody and it becomes part of our print collection,” she said.

The South West Printmakers work will be exhibited from January 9-24.

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18th century concert to roque

CLASSICAL music enthusiasts will have the opportunity to witness a historical performance from the Baroque era.

The Historically Informed Performance Company (HIP Company) is a group of young Perth musicians who specialise in 17th and 18th century musical performances.

HIP Company Co-director and Soprano Bonnie de la Hunty said the group conducts careful research to try and emulate the style of the era.

“The concert showcases music from the Baroque era,” she said.

“It’s a whole mixture of music from our favourite places such as Italy, Germany, France and England from that time.

“There will be strings and soprano, two violins and cello.”

In the group’s effort to emulate the eras music style, the musicians use historically accurate instruments in their performances.

Ms de la Hunty said using the historical instruments allow the group to combine tradition with innovation in their concerts.

“For the string players it means their strings are made of gut, actual wound animal gut as they were back at the time,” she said.

“Modern violins and cellos use synthetic strings.

“It just means they have to be played in a certain style, tuned in a certain way and give a certain sound.”

The Albany concert will mark the group’s first tour outside of Perth.

Ms de la Hunty said the group hopes to continue touring regionally in coming years.

“We love seeing different parts of WA and bringing this type of music to different parts of the world,” she said.

“We hope that it’s something lots of different aged groups could enjoy, we like to chat to the audience and explain where things are from and the historical instruments.

“We’ve also done things like play jazz music on Baroque instruments, and some of our own arrangements of old pieces to give a sort of a modern spin.”

The HIP Company will be performing an engaging concert at the Albany Uniting Church on January 12 at 2pm, tickets can be purchased online at www.trybooking.com/bntbk or at the door.

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MacGregor’s dream job

ROSS MacGregor spent almost 20 years ‘crawling’ out of a major clinical depression to find his dream job as a Sound Engineer at Six Degrees.

The 49-year-old said he went through some traumatic experiences growing up as a child in Scotland and again around 2001.

He was diagnosed with genetic anxiety disorder, and went into a deep depression.

“It took me the best part of these past 19 years to crawl my way out of it,” he said.

“The past two years I’ve been doing pretty good, having gotten back into my passion of playing guitar.

“Scoring the job at Six Degrees has been a dream come true. My social anxiety meant that it was a bit out of my comfort zone working at a bar/restaurant, as I’ve been a bit of a hermit for a long time.

“So I wasn’t sure how I’d cope, but I’ve been thriving on the music and social interaction with fellow musicians and music lovers and fellow staff members.

“It’s made me realise that the world isn’t so scary after all and there are so many beautiful, compassionate and friendly people here in Albany.”

MacGregor commenced his duties in September and described his job as extremely rewarding.

“I get to meet and work with some amazingly talented artists and bands and help to enhance their overall sound and make sure everything goes smoothly,” he said.

“Not only do I get to enjoy the music, but being a part of that and being appreciated for it is truly gratifying and has done wonders for my self-confidence.

“For me, music is like energy for my soul.”

MacGregor was referred to Six Degrees through disability employment agency Forrest Personnel and met with the organisation’s music guru Geoff Waldeck.

“I shared my story and experience with music and the fact I’d gone through years of depression and anxiety,” MacGregor said.

“Geoff must have seen something in me, he put his trust in me and he has since expressed how happy he is with how I do the job.

“I can’t express how much it has meant to me, him giving me a good old Aussie go of it and I hope I never let him down.

“He’s such a personable and compassionate guy.

“He has made me feel so welcome at Six Degrees and allowed me to flourish as his soundman.

“His constant appreciation and friendly demeanor has made all the difference, as has Six Degrees’ owner Anton.”

Waldeck said as the backroom has continually grown into a purpose-built musical venue, the need for a consistent quality sound was evident.

“Paul and Jeff Meyers were very active to the development of the venue and played a huge part in setting up the room’s acoustics and installing the PA system,” he said.

“Enter Ross MacGregor … he has taken on the daunting task of maintaining the high standard that was set and doing his best to improve on it.

“Ross’s desire to help along with his jovial, engaging and active personality have been a wonderful addition to our staff, and as he become more and more comfort- able and at ease with all the new people around him – he is embracing this new chapter of his life with gusto.”

MacGregor has been playing guitar for 32 years, leaving Scotland aged 19 for France with a backpack and an acoustic guitar.

He ran out of money and started busking, which became his life for the next decade where he busked throughout Europe.

MacGregor’s passion is playing instrumental electric guitar in the style of guitar legend Joe Satriani, who he met and translated two interviews with in France in 1996.

He has played in bands over the years and also wrote his own music but due to the isolation he put himself through with his anxiety and depression, he hasn’t been in that environment for many years.

“More than ever now I hope to get my own band going in 2021,” MacGregor said.

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Shaddy set to soar

INCREDIBLE live performers Blue Shaddy will grace the stage at the Stirling Club this Saturday night.

The blues and roots group are a band with connections, given that founding members, Jim McClelland, (guitarist and singer/songwriter) Graham ‘Belly’ McClelland (harmonica) and Sandy McClelland (bass guitarist) are family.

Born and bred in Kellerberrin, those trio have not lost that rustic, relaxed country charm that has endeared them to so many.

Known for their infectious amalgam of blues and roots, come country, they are renowned for their energetic physical presence.

Blue Shaddy’s musical path was inevitable with brothers Jim and ‘Belly’ sharing a small house on the family farm, and with television banned from the house, considered poison for the brain, these two would sit at the kitchen table and trade Hound Dog Taylor and Sonnie and Brownie licks nightly.

A meeting soon after with like-minded, and also musically spirited, Sandy Naughton found her also sitting at that same table going through what was to become the Blue Shaddy apprenticeship.

Nearly 20 years later, Jim and Sandy have now married and along with ‘Belly’ have maintained a passionate and unwavering commitment to their music, forging their way on festival circuit and gaining fans far and wide.

With these three as the driving force behind Blue Shaddy, a band is still not totally complete without a drummer.

Having had the pleasure over the years of playing with some of Australia’s finest skin men, Dean Wuksta returns back on the kit after some 17 years apart. It just proves there is nothing better than the original recipe.

Blue Shaddy have just released their fourth album Across the Road, an impressive batch of songs conveying strong expression of life in the moment.

Diving deeper into the explorations of family, self and relationships, Jim returns to the electric guitar for a number of songs and some very tasty slide playing throughout the album which leaves you with a strong sense that Blue Shaddy have returned to their roots, but this time in a more mature and comfortable place with their songwriting.

Tickets on sale now through Oztix.com with doors open 7.30pm.

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Grant boosts live music scene

UNDER the guidance of local music guru Geoff Waldeck, Six Degrees has picked up a $25,000 grant to promote live and original music for musicians battling through pandemic restrictions.

The money will be used to instigate and develop a new musical venture for Six Degrees entitled The Revelator Series.

With the music industry facing severe pressures, Live Music Australia opened up the first round of grants to assist live music venues re-open, build or re-build their capacity for programming activity as restrictions eased.

Waldeck, who was given official confirmation on Monday, hopes the money will be received by this week and is planning live music events accordingly for the next 12 months.

He wants aspiring original-based musicians from the Great Southern to get in contact with him, where they will have the potential opportunity to perform in a paid industry-standard gig performing their own works.

Waldeck said some compositions based around life seen through the Covid-filter would be interesting.

“We have an industry standard PA and sound engineer, and there’s also the chance that performers could support established touring acts should they come through Six Degrees,” Waldeck said.

“The money from the grant will in effect fund each of the shows.

“We will not need to be reliant on ticket or even our bar sales, as we won’t necessarily be carrying the monetary risk, and this allows us to focus more on creative expression.

“It’s just fantastic news for the local live original music scene.”

Waldeck said it was pleasing that Six Degrees was recognised for their commitment to the Albany music scene, especially during some very trying months, and their ongoing development as a quality music venue.

The first installment of The Revelator Series will be this Friday featuring Perth acts The Leah Grant Band and Tenaya Harper, who will be supported by local musician Carly Maree Russell.

The gig is free entry.

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Mt Barker festival to open doors

SPLASHES of colour and intriguing artworks can be found across Mount Barker for the next few months, with the inaugural Festival of Doors enticing tourists to explore the town.

Intended to be a lead-in event to the Mountain and Murals Festival, the Festival of Doors has become a success in its own right, with more than 100 transformed doors submitted for display by the local community.

Organiser and local woodworker George Corke said the response from the community, both young and old, had been tremendous.

“All these people have done these creations with no expectations of prizes, it’s just for community involvement and to make Mount Barker a more attractive place for visitors,” he said.

“They all just want to do something nice for Mount Barker, they don’t expect anything in return.”

Mount Barker Police Officer-in-Charge Sergeant David Johnson said he was pleased to see the results of combining his love of art with positive policing taking effect across the town.

“We found with the mural event last year we had no phone calls to police in Mount Barker for a week, and crime now is down 68 per cent,” he said.

“I find the more stuff you can include the community in, the more pride they have in their community.

“If your town’s vibrant, people are here, and your shops are full, that social element who don’t want to conform to the normal principles of society stay away, because we’re inundated by people who are here for the positive reasons.”

While there are no confirmed plans to run the Festival of Doors again, tourists and locals alike could see another lead-in event before the Mountains and Murals Festival in November next year.

“I also want to thank Pardelup Prison as well for allowing the Section 95 prisoners to come out and assist myself and George in putting them up,” Sgt Johnson said.

“It’s important we mention them because those prisoners have a huge impact in town and are involved in a lot of stuff with support of the Superintendent Jodi Miller.”

The public are welcome to observe the doors and vote for their favourites at various voting booths across town.

Winners will be announced at a collaborative event with the Great Southern Wine Producers on January 24.

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AEC: 10 years of entertainment

ONE of Albany’s most iconic buildings will celebrate its 10th birthday in style on December 11 by hosting a free community event.

The Albany Entertainment Centre (AEC) was opened on December 10, 2010 and has since seen a wide variety of acts and shows come through its doors.

AEC Manager Drew Dymond reminisced on the first time the building welcomed the public inside.

“I was lucky enough to be here when it first opened in another capacity at the time, I never realised I’d be lucky enough to be the manager,” he said.

“I remember people were very excited and the place was filled to capacity.

“There was a tremendous buzz around the place that people had a brand-new world-class facility in their town.”

Original plans to recreate the centre’s first opening gala in honour of its first 10 years have been put on hold until 2021 due to the challenges faced this year.

From 3.30pm on December 11, the public are invited to join in the celebration with live music inside and out of the venue, canapes, drinks, and free family activities.

Guided tours, circus performers, local artists, and the cutting of a birthday cake can also be found at the centre, which hopes to welcome all members of the community.

Mr Dymond said he was looking forward to share in the celebration.

“We all feel very privileged to manage the venue and provide the service to the community, and we all feel it’s a wonderful asset to the region,” he said.

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