Community art, dance and documentary converge at Stuarts Point

‘The Muurrbay Tree’ family, with Uncle Bud Marshall, Hannah Smith, (Mum) Marilyn Smith, Bruce Carmady, Matt Smith, Elaine Carmady and the kids Kyla, Jamarley, Bailee and Matahli.

AFTER weeks of preparation the Stuarts Point Art House ‘Community Mural and Dance Project’ culminated in a fabulous night of food, film and footloose antics at the Stuarts Point Hall on the evening of 11 November 2023.

The inexhaustible team from Stuarts Point Art House, based at the Anglican Church, 25 Ocean Avenue, developed the project in conjunction with the travelling musical team ‘Grace and Hugh’, and were thrilled to welcome local and visitors from as far afield as Crescent Head, Kempsey, Macksville, Bowraville and a trio representing the Nambucca Heads Red Cross Emergency Services.

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Prominent local artist and project coordinator Elaine Carmady enlisted locals, young and old, to help create a magical mural, a cross-cultural art project titled ‘The Muurrbay Tree’, which was unveiled during the evening, and is adorned with individually painted clay ‘leaf’ tiles and will eventually be erected as a public installation that is designed to celebrate our collective community.

“We are so happy with the progress of the tree, the positive community input and great feedback we have received,” Elaine said.

After a scrumptious outdoor satay BBQ supper, a full house of over 100 folks enjoyed a performance delivered by local dance professional Alfira O’Sullivan, with fun body percussion and traditional Indonesian dance which culminated in a group performance for the community.

The remarkable documentary, ‘Up Armidale Road’, produced and presented by the duo Grace Hickey and Hugh Scott Murray, screened at 7pm.

The audience was silenced by the poignant, international award-winning film depicting their travels through fire ravaged rural climes, accompanied by a dilapidated upright piano.

After a short intermission, Grace and Hugh then took to the stage to perform a spirited set of original music (minus the old piano), which didn’t fail to entice dance floor action.

“It’s been a big tour (two years, 50 screening and performance events) but Saturday night’s show in Stuarts Point was unquestionably a special one for us.

“Such a vibrant, all ages turnout from the community, and everyone was in such fine voice!

“We’d love to roll back to Stuarts Point in the future.

“Thank you for having us!,” Grace and Hugh commented to NOTA.

The Mural project is supported by Arts Mid North Coast through the NSW Government’s Country Arts Support Program, and ‘Up Armidale Road’ events are sponsored by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and the Yulgilbar Foundation.


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