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I travelled about 360 km across Victoria for my wonderful week as Artist in Residence at The Artery, in Warrnambool. (I live another 50miles to the South East of Melbourne.)

I stopped at one last exhibition before setting off on the return trip from my week as Artist in Residence at The Artery in Warrnambool, the vibrant arts hub of Victoria’s South West. I hadn’t been able to attend Madeline Peters’ exhibition opening the night before, as it coincided with the toasting the launch of my own exhibition on its tour across the state.

As I was leaving I was farewelled with this lovely comment from Maddy’s mum, Rachel:
“It’s been great having such a positive person visiting our community. Thank you for all you have given us.”

It was lovely to hear, but I was puzzled, and as I drove across the state, I mulled. What had I given?

* Words of affirmation –
Easy to do because this group of people is collectively and individually doing amazing things.

* My two workshops were given freely – which has great value when you consider the recommended industry rates for professional arts practitioners that I normally receive for spasmodic workshop delivery.

* The workshop content was also valued by the participants and others who curate experiences for this community’s arts journey.

* When I left Victoria’s South West coast I had given away reams of Mind Drawing print-outs
• for inspirational use as story starters
• to explore how we see
• in which to seek the hidden four-leafed clover
• to complete with their own marks
• to add colour or texture
• as a memento of my visit and Blarney Books & Art’s hosting of my Mind Drawing Children’s Stories interactive exhibition.

* I gave my time and attention, focussing on the local community – their interests, aspirations and values, and how they are doing the fabulous things they are doing.

Merran uses her art to help refugees.

* I also actively participated in their ventures, giving support as one of the team.

“It was great to have such a positive person visiting us.”

It was easy to be such a positive person. In all the ‘giving’ outlined above, I was also enjoying being a participant in the enriching activities.

The role I played was not important; that some of the events would not have occurred had I not been proactive, was not important. What did matter is that they did occur and we all got to enjoy the experience. This is ‘living the life’ as part of a healthy community.

No wonder I hadn’t noticed what I had given; the giving was natural. I am grateful to have received and enjoyed so much – me contributing was just part of the process.


Leave a comment to let me know what you have enjoyed when an artist has been in residence.