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Visual arts and music come together in free long weekend celebration at The Foundations of Portland

Visual arts and music come together in the opening of the ‘While the World Waits’ art exhibition and a free concert at The Foundations of Portland on Saturday 1 October, alongside the ever-popular Twilight Markets.

Arts OutWest invites you to see how visual artists responded to original songs by Central West musicians, then enjoy performances from three of the region’s finest acts: country-folk duo Smith & Jones, four-piece blues-soul band The Safety of Life at Sea, and folk singer-songwriter Nerida Cuddy. Visitors will also enjoy food, stalls and craft activities at the Foundations’ Twilight Markets.

The exhibition opens at 2pm. The concert starts at 6pm and the Foundations’ Twilight Markets run from 4-9pm.

“The last two years have been tough in the arts. Lockdowns and loss of work ran across all artforms. Live shows took a hammering. Arts OutWest wanted to help by creating opportunities for creatives in our region. That’s where the album of music then the exhibition of art came from,” said exhibition curator, Arts OutWest’s Steven Cavanagh.

“Supporting local musicians and the live music industry has also been the inspiration for our Live & Kicking music program across the region,” explains Arts OutWest’s music industry support officer Patrick Coomey.

At the exhibition opening Canowindra folk singer Nerida Cuddy will perform her song Virtual Folk Club from the While the World Waits album. This song features in a couple of the works in the exhibition. She’ll also perform songs from her latest album Woven. The 20 Central West visual artists with work in the exhibition includes celebrated Portland sculptor and Foundations artist-in-residence Harrie Fasher with ‘Untitled / silence’ which asks: ‘How do we maintain this quiet when the pace has already resumed?’ and Portland’s Robert Hirschmann who used the track from the album It’s Time by Amy Viola as inspiration for his painting.

“For the 6pm Live & Kicking concert we’ve picked Smith & Jones and The Safety of Life at Sea, two Central West bands whose music works well together with plenty of tunes for an audience to get up and move about, so it should be a lot of fun,” Mr Coomey said. “These bands also featured on the While the World Waits album, so another special connection.”

The Foundations at Portland are gearing up for the event:

“The Arts OutWest team have been supportive of our project from the outset, and this series of events is the culmination of a partnership that will ensure that The Foundations is recognised as a leading arts and cultural precinct as our mission continues to showcase exciting regional artists to our growing audience,” said Foundations reactivation manager Rich Evans.  

Saturday 1 October at The Foundations of Portland, Williwa St Portland 2pm – ‘While the World Waits’ exhibition opening in The Annex 2.30pm – performance by Nerida Cuddy as part of the exhibition opening in The Annex6-pm – Smith & Jones followed by The Safety of Life at Sea performFrom 4-9pm – Twilight Markets in the Boiler House

More detailed information on the exhibition and the performers attached.

The Exhibition

The While the World Waits exhibition is open daily from September 24 to October 23 in The Annex at The Foundations of Portland. It will be officially opened at 2pm on Saturday 1 October.

Last year Arts OutWest commissioned 15 Central West songwriters to write tracks reflecting their experiences of 2020. The compilation album of original music is titled While the World Waits. Arts OutWest then opened the conversation up to visual artists to see what they were feeling.

In 2022, 20 artists from across the Central West used the album of music as inspiration for new work. You will see painting, sculpture, drawing, weaving, ceramics, moving image, animation, photography, glass and textiles. 

Artists: Gus Armstrong (Rylstone), Laura Baker (Blayney), Helen Carpenter (Grenfell), Steven Cavanagh (Hill End), Gemma Clipsham (Bathurst), Bev Coe (Condobolin) Heather Dunn (Bathurst), Lise Edwards (Lithgow), Harrie Fasher (Portland), Robert Hirschmann (Portland), Cate McCarthy (Yetholme), Hugh McKinnon (Orange), Christine McMillan (Kandos), Shani Nottingham (Cowra), Timothy Seager (Bathurst), Henry Simmons and the River Yarners (Bathurst), Bridget Thomas (Bathurst), Jane Tonks (Orange), Heather Vallance (Orange), Stephan de Wit (Parkes).

Portland is the sixth stop on a 12-venue exhibition tour. The While the World Waits exhibition will travel to galleries and venues across the Central West through to early 2023.

The Music

Smith & Jones forged from a friendship at a record store in Bathurst. Eight years and two albums later Abby Smith (piano) & Sophie Jones (guitar) are accomplished musicians who combine strong voices and beautiful original tunes, playing an undefinable mix of original country and folk. Smith & Jones have toured extensively and most recently have provided support to Katie Noonan, Sam Buckingham, The Hussy Hicks and Amy Vee. They have appeared at festivals including Tamworth as well as Inland Sea of Sound. They have also worked as educators, community choir leaders, mentors to young artists and conducted workshops within the disability sector. They’ve even expanded their creative outlets as composers and performers in theatre and as part of visual art installations. Currently recording their third album, you’ll get to hear their current single Highrise.

The Safety of Life at Sea will perform in support of their latest album Let the River Go. Recorded at singer/pianist/songwriter Kris Schubert’s Boatshed Studio in O’Connell, the album is a heady mix of original blues, soul, 60’s and 70’s rock and Americana and builds on the style and vibe of the band’s 2017’s release Foxy’s Farm.

The Safety of Life at Sea’s rhythm section of Lian Wong on bass and Tony Bibby on drums/percussion take a leaf out of the books of Motown and Stax.  Stephen Helman on guitar throws in some pages from the book of southern blues left at the crossroads. Mix this up into a musical gumbo and you who have the sound of a band that went for a weekend in New Orleans and never quite came back.

Originally from Sydney Nerida Cuddy fled there as soon as she could for the open skies and space of western NSW, a stint in country Victoria, before finally stopping in Canowindra. Nerida is a songwriter whose songs have been connecting with people from all walks of life for over 25 years. Her stories-in-song are a well-balanced mix of bittersweet tales of life with tasty lashings of humour, generous and fun. Detailed guitar accompany her warm & passionate voice.

Nerida found a new audience during isolation by performing online to a UK based folk club, which gave rise to her song ‘Virtual Folk Club’, featured on the album ‘While The World Waits’.

Smith & Jones, The Safety of Life at Sea and Nerida Cuddy all contributed tracks to the 2021 While the World Waits album, which was produced by Kris Schubert (of The Safety of Life at Sea) in his O’Connell studio.

Arts OutWest’s Live & Kicking gigs have a region-wide focus on live, local, original music that also builds a touring circuit and engages live music venues. Live & Kicking is funded by the Australian Government’s Live Music Australia.

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