Artists in the Garden in review for a return in 2024

Busy painters on Basquiat day, Sunday 6 August.

ARTISTS in the Garden (AITG) is taking a break as the directors review the event format.

A free and inclusive art experience, with all forms of artistic expression welcomed, AITG has been enthusiastically supported by the community since its inception.

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The grassroots, artist-led initiative succeeded in its purpose to bring art to people and people to art.

“Public art forms an essential part of healthy communities; we will endeavour to bring connection and meaning to future event formats,” co-director Tammy Mills-Thom told News Of The Area.

Fellow co-director James P Gilmour envisages next year’s program to be more targeted.

“A little more like our successful photography festival from last year,” he said.

Artists in the Garden was supported by a City of Coffs Harbour Arts and Cultural grant from August 2022 to July 2023, which meant all the events were free from August 2022, for one year.

The grant was auspiced by the Friends of the Botanic Gardens Inc., who administered the funds on behalf of AITG.

The North Coast Botanic Garden proved to be an ideal location for the events, with the combination of art and nature being the perfect recipe for a Sunday afternoon, with only one AITG afternoon rained off.

Directors James and Tammy are proud of the achievements of the concept and how the event played out each month.

The pair said AITG has delivered more than can be measured by mere statistics.

“It has given public art the space it deserves in the community,” said Tammy.

“I love the synergy, spontaneity and sharing the event generates.

“Art is a medium of expression and connection and every event brings its own energy and surprises; it is diverse and inclusive and it’s just fantastic to see people involved and enjoying it all.”

“I really enjoy seeing people given the opportunity to attempt something they would not have normally considered,” James told NOTA.

“From its inception, AITG has been a level playing field that emphasises experience over outcome.

“Such is the joy, inspiration, and creativity of Artists in the Garden.”

Broad, local promotional networking proved effective in attracting performers and participants, with an average of seventeen artists attending each event.

These included visual artists, spoken word, writers, poets, musicians, and songwriters from a diverse local and regional source.

It is estimated that the total attendance for all events was around 1,250, averaging at 125 per event.

Many original performing artists were given the first chance to showcase their talent to an appreciative audience.

Launched in September 2022, the Photos In the Garden festival sponsored by Coffs Central, was a huge success amongst participants and the community audience.

“While there are no current applications for grants in the pipeline, when our next projects are decided on sponsorship will be warmly welcomed,” said James.


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