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Welcome to the Autumn 2020 edition of ArtBytes, the newsletter of the Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network (BMCAN)

The big news in this issue is the 2020-21 Greater Blue Mountains Creative Arts Leadership Awards will be held late 2020 or early 2021. The location and date is yet to be determined but we are going to be optimistic and a call for nominations was sent out on 19 April.  Barbara Lepani, BMCAN director, in this issue discusses the lead-up that has been taking place and how you can get involved in becoming part of this engaged community of creatives celebrating our leaders.

Also in this issue, Wendy Tsai talks about the changing face of Talking ArtZ and calls on members for ideas as well as inviting them to listen to past podcasts.

Many thanks to all contributors, and please if you have a relative article or comment submit it to
ArtBytes is published four times each year for members of the Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network.
Members are invited to send articles for publication to the Editors.
Brad Diedricg & Barbara Lepani, Editors
by Graham Tribe
by Barbara Lepani, BMCAN Director

Tim K Jones
By Lisa Frances Judd
by Wendy Tsai, Talking ArtZ Founder

by Barbara Lepani, WMC Convenor
by Julie Ankers

Don't miss these BMCAN events! And stay tuned for further updates.
by Graham Tribe

"During this lockdown the Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network (BMCAN) Management Team is continuing to work away at the several projects we have in the pipeline and at the same time improving existing activities, so you get more from them.
I’m sure all of us are using this time to spend time on our art, cleaning out our houses, doing those jobs we have put off for some time, and finding a way to earn enough income to survive.
BMCAN is still planning to hold many activities as we get back to more normality. We have started to plan our 2020 NSW Parliament Exhibition, Creative Arts Leaders Awards, After the Fires Exhibition, Talking ArtZ on a monthly basis, revised arts trails and music festival, Wild Mountain Collective and Encountering the Wild. Some of these may not happen in 2020 but in 2021.
In addition, we are introducing some online activities, planning others, and when normality returns we will hold our regular activities again.
NSW Parliament Exhibition – we have been accepted to hold an exhibition in the Fountain Court of NSW Parliament, however this timing may be affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.
To access some of these online programs:
  • Creative Arts Leaders Awards – go to the BMCAN website
  • Talking ArtZ – listen to podcasts of recent sessions – go to 
  • BMCAN Forums - I suggest you go to the new forums page where various people are posting comments on issues where you can add your insights. To access this, go to the BMCAN website and read and add comments.
Several other programs are in the pipeline and you will see them shortly.
 We welcome any program suggestions you may have which you think would provide interest and support to all members.
 We hope you are all safe and well, and we will mix and mingle when this crisis is past and some normality returns.”

Send your ideas directly to Graham at
by Barbara Lepani, BMCAN Director
The 2020 CALA Committee is Julie Ankers (Chair and writing), Freedom Wilson (visual arts and artisans), Christine Wheeler (music), Sean O’Keefe (photography, film and video, Shane Porteous for (performing arts), Leanne Tobin (Indigenous arts) and Sharon Howard (galleries and event). BMCAN’s Barbara Lepani will continue to provide secretariat services.
The 2018 rebranding of BMAN as BMCAN, the Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network, was marked by the development of a new website, and the celebration of creative arts leadership in the Greater Blue Mountains across the different art forms—writing, visual arts, music, artisans, film, sculpture, and performing arts. Awards went to Julie Ankers, Chris Cannell, Meg Benson, Jo Clancy, Rae Bolitin, Kelly Heylen, Ann Niddrie, Victor Peralta, Veechi Stuart, Faye Wilson and Natasha Sebire.
Continuing this tradition, BMCAN established a formal CALA Committee to oversee the awards process for 2019. It comprised Tony Bond (visual arts), Julie Ankers (artisans), Maggie Davis (performing arts), Peter Long (music) and Amy Sambrooke (writing).  Barbara Lepani from BMCAN provided the secretariat services.  The Committee received 42 nominations from the community across the different art categories, and one category for community arts organisations.  The Committee’s independent Selection Panel (Ian Milliss, Justin Morrisey, Michael Wright, Joanne McGowan, Shane Porteous) chose the following winners for 2019, who were announced at a public awards event at Hotel Mountain Heritage, the major sponsor for the event: Freedom Wilson (visual arts), Sondi (artisans), Charity Mirow (music), Claire Jones (performing arts), Carol Major and Margaret Hamilton (jointly for writing) and the Budyarimaba team from Katoomba High School for their video work exhibited at the Blue Mountains City Art Gallery.  The organisational award, selected by a committee of three (Graham Tribe, Tim Jones and Julie Ankers) went to Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains.
Mountain Heritage Hotel, Katoomba
Our wonderful MC for the event was the ABC’s Damien Beaumont, and the event consultant was Fran Cane, who worked closely with Radio Blue Mountains to organise interviews with all the nominees on the ArtHouse program.  Other sponsors for the awards and event included: Bendigo Bank, The Carrington, Radio Blue Mountains (our media partner), Theo Poulos, Fairmont Resort, ArtHouse, Tony Bond, and the Hon Trish Doyle and Susan Templeman, MPs for the Blue Mountains.
BMCAN is on a steep learning curve in organising and managing such an event, which brought together the whole creative arts community, showed this initiative is widely supported.  Freedom Wilson sent us this message:
"I was absolutely thrilled to receive the Visual Arts award last Thursday night!  Thank you so much for your support of all the wonderful and generous creatives in our community, who work so hard, bringing vibrancy and energy to this magnificent place. Myself, like so many other local artists put a lot of time into applying unsuccessfully for grants/competitions, and it was just so affirming to receive this award from the community that I love!"
Following feedback on the 2019 awards, Barbara Lepani has worked with the 2020 CALA Committee to develop a Discussion Paper: Celebrating Creative Arts Leadership in the Greater Blue Mountains.  This is available as a PDF download from
Julie Ankers, Chair of the 2020 CALA Committee
“After much discussion from feedback we think creative arts leadership refers to the ability to initiate and ‘make things happen’ through events, organisational development, projects and mentorship.  Leadership combines the ability to inspire others and bring ideas into fruition.  It involves teamwork, networking, building collaborative partnerships, community entrepreneurship, innovative and strategic thinking and attention to changing patterns of audience engagement.”
Darug artist, Leanne Tobin
“Because of the special role of Indigenous creative arts in Australia as the cultural foundation of Australia’s arts, which is acknowledged by the two major funding bodies, the Australia Council for the Arts and Create NSW, the Indigenous Creative Arts Leadership Awards has its own separate nomination form. This emphasises the importance of paying respect to Indigenous culture and Custodians and issues of significance to the Gundungurra, Darug and Wiradjuri peoples of this area.”
The CALA Committee have determined 12 types of awards for 2020:
  • Under 25 years emerging creative arts leadership
  • Outstanding innovation in creative arts leadership (involving any/all art forms and which significantly engage the community, types of arts expression, and social issues)
  • Indigenous arts leadership (separate nomination form required)
  • Visual arts leadership
  • Artisans leadership
  • Music leadership
  • Writing leadership
  • Performing Arts leadership
  • Film & Video leadership
  • Arts based business leadership
  • Community arts organisation leadership
  • Creative arts events leadership.
The call for nominations from the public will open on 19 April.  The CALA Committee has developed two nomination forms, setting out criteria and requested information.  One is for Indigenous arts leadership, and one is for all other categories. 
These will be available as downloadable documents from   
Please think about the wonderful people in your network who deserve to be celebrated, including yourself, and get a nomination form and follow its instructions to send the submission to  Telephone enquiries: 0458 158 485

Mountain Heritage Hotel, Katoomba
Tim K Jones
A new BMCAN initiative
What is it?
The Fluidity project is a platform for the development of experimental collaborative artworks and partnership building between different artforms. Using a virtual collaborative space, The Fluidity Project will explore new themes and concepts every four months culminating in an online exhibition, performance, screening or gallery experience. 

Who is it for?
Fluidity is for any artists in the Greater Blue Mountains (Blue Mountains-Lithgow council areas) who wish to explore experimental collaborative art using an online platform for production, discussion and distribution. The principle of the Creative Commons, where appropriation and referencing one another's works is allowed and encouraged will be a bedrock of Fluidity. Collaboration can include drawing, painting, print, design, photography, installation, sculptural forms, craft, music, video, animation, new media, writings, performance and other art forms .  

How does it work?
Simply register online at - login to the member forum and start creating. Fluidity uses a simple online forum system for artists to upload their contributions in a range of formats (image-sound-video-text), collaborators simply download content using a web browser of choice. A simple online gallery structure will allow participants and the world to view Fluidity collaborations.
Let’s Talk About Art Licensing
By Lisa Frances Judd
BMCAN member Lisa Frances Judd
It’s my experience as a professional visual artist that developing multiple income streams for your art greatly adds to your financial success.  Besides selling your original art or teaching art; one of the best ways to increase your creative income is with Art Licensing which brings in regular passive income helping to support your Art Practice.

Basically, an Art License means that you give a company written permission to use your art images on their products for a period of time, usually 2-3 years.
If you are lucky, a License can “take off” quickly, however, in general I would say that most are longer term propositions. Some Licenses can take months or even longer to start paying well and some Licenses will be more successful than others.

Where do you start?
Before you even attempt to contact companies, who may be interested in your work, you need to plan for it. Here is an overview of what I would recommend:

Consistent Style of work - A sometimes-restrictive issue with art made for commercial purposes is a consistent style.  This is something you need to accept. Most companies that License artworks want to see a lot of similar pieces of art in your portfolio. That way they can pick and choose from what you have and if the License is successful, add more of your work to the License over time.
Volume of work - You will need to create at least 10 – 15 artworks in each Series. You can juggle between a small group of different Series, that is what I do to keep myself fresh and inspired.  Just only pick 2-4 of them and focus on those to build your portfolio of work.
Who is your artworks target market? - With Licensing there is no point shooting a lot of bullets at a lot of companies. It wastes your time. For example, if you paint bright happy modern art don’t approach a traditional company whose audience likes traditionally painted muted landscapes/still life art. Who would like your art? Know your audience.
If you are interested in learning more about Art Licensing please feel free to email Lisa at:
by Wendy Tsai, Talking ArtZ Founder
Some of our fascinating guests from Talking ArtZ.  Top left clockwise: Peter Long, Rilka Oakley, Julie Ankers, Gary Hayes, Kerry Chater, Marty Walker, Tim Jones, Lis Bastian, John Ellison, Ian Morrison and Bruce Cale..
Talking ArtZ is an evolving BMCAN project, being shaped by those interested and invested in conversation in the arts. Hosted by Wendy Tsai in 2018 and 2019 and currently integrated with Julie Ankers from ARTHouse RBM, along with Ian Morrison from Katoomba Music, we now meet in the Nolan on Lovel Gallery in Katoomba the first Saturday of every month from 3pm. Our podcast and video support is provided by Brad Diedrich.

Our program covers the visual arts, music, community arts, collaborations, film, photography, sound, and writing. When we resume after the current hiatus we’ll have jewellers, designers, graphic novelists, potters and writers, so please watch for the program over coming months.

The Talking ArtZ team are always looking for interested volunteers and contributers, it can be a lot of work organising these monthly events. If you have some time and would like to support our program with organisation, planning, donating, helping set up, or contacting people, please let us know. We have a rich cultural community and we want to monopolise our local advantage by getting to know our artists and giving them exposure and support.

We hope you are all faring fairly in our current pandemic isolation. This has certainly brought a halt to many of our regular BMCAN activities, including our monthly Talking ArtZ.

You can still access the podcasts on, thanks to our wonderful Brad Diedrich. 

I'd love to hear from you if you have ideas that might increase our membership through the Talking ArtZ program, and during this time of isolation, we're looking at ways to stay in touch and support people's creative energy and need for community. 

You can contact me on
I'd love to hear from you!
Wendy Tsai

by Barbara Lepani, WMC Convenor
Blackheath’s Rhythmstix Drummers
Wild Mountain Collective
It’s hard to believe it is already past Easter 2020.  We somehow missed the January edition of ArtBytes, so now we have to catch up with an overview of what’s been happening in this BMCAN project to date, as we reflect back on the recent Black Summer, and now confront the anxiety and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world. Our Collective operates through the co-creation of different events, supported by a blog, which Barbara Lepani edits and administers with Brad Diedrich, and a community of interest of 95 people on our contact list.   The blog features regular posts by Barbara and some ‘quotes for the month’ by Lorraine Shannon.
The Wild Mountain Collective invites anyone who wants to try their writing skills, to submit works to the editor for publication.
The Wild Mountain Collective takes as its core inspiration the role of the arts in the Songlines of Aboriginal culture, which kept alive a deep eco-consciousness for over 65,000 years through song, dance, story telling and painting.  We seek to connect with what the writer Alexis Wright has said, as we look into the face of the growing environmental crisis enveloping modern Australia:

"In this country there are sacred places holding enormous powers throughout this continent and reaching far out in the seas. But most non-Aboriginal people do not understand the powerful nature of this country and the forces of nature, or how the ancient law stories associated with each of these sacred places contain vital knowledge about the deep history of this land and caring for it."

As we went through the ‘black summer’ of bushfires ravaging Australia, including the extensive Mt Gosper fire that impacted Lithgow, Dargan, Bilpin and Mt Wilson areas, people are beginning to pay attention to the Law of fire as caring for country, rather than crisis fire management to protect assets (people and property). 

"Country is everything—people, animals, birds, plants—entire ecosystems, which are the subject of all the songlines.  Aboriginal people don’t just mourn for a lost house and business or person dear to them.  They mourn for their country." 
 Alexis Wright goes on to say:
"The Aboriginal caretakers of their traditional country have always understood its power, and why it is so important to care for the land through developing an important system of laws that created great responsibility for caring for the stories and powers of the ancestors."

These narratives of great and old wisdom are the true constitution for this country, and urgently need to be upfront in the national narrative in understanding how to care for it (The Guardian, 18 December 2019).
Encountering the Wild, 30 November at Dargan

We got in just before the major fires at Dargan to hold our annual Encountering the Wild event at the Gallery H complex in Dargan, in partnership with sculptor Henryk Topolnicki, and with financial support from Bendigo Bank. On the day, a grass fire up the road at Bell provided an ominous warning of the bushfire season what would come bearing down on us in summer.
A highlight of the event was a community conversation with, Darug artist and Wild Mountain Collective patron, Leanne Tobin, and anthropologist Inge Riebe, on questions of how to really understand different worldviews, such as Aboriginal Australia where country ‘speaks’ through birds, plants, weather, animals and the ancestral spirits.

The event was supported with music by Blackheath’s Rhythmstix Drummers, Lithgow’s Goats Can Eat Anything, Jacinta Tobin on guitar, Heathen Choir and instrumentalist group, Wombats Crossing.  After the event, at sunset we gathered in Monkey Creek Café for a delicious meal together.

Wild Mountain Collective Exploring Ideas Seminars 2019

Held at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre Seminar Room in Katoomba, and coordinated by Lorraine Shannon
Seminar 1, April, “Celebrating Trees”— celebrated artists Janet Lawrence and Louise Fowler Smith discussed their environmental artworks in the seminar. This referenced a major retrospective of Janet’s work at the Museum of Contemporary Art, “Theatre of Trees”, and Louise’s artworks linked to the Tree Veneration Society, with her Portraits of Remarkable Illuminated Trees from India. 
Seminar 2, July, “Sacred Water, Weaving Water”— Jane Ulman, an audio documentary film maker shared her extraordinary work with Aboriginal elders exploring the meaning of words for ‘water’ in her “Sweet Water, Salt Water, Sacred Sites”, and Emily Gorman, an environmental historian, shared her research looking at Aboriginal women’s weaving practises in the Macquarie Marshes of NSW.
Seminar 3, November, “New Shoots: Climate Crisis and Culture” — unfortunately our second seminar, featuring Professor Freya Mathews, one of the WMC’s patrons, and environmental psychologist, Dr Sally Gillespie, had to be postponed till April 2020, due to Freya’s sudden illness.  Then, our reorganised one, Climate Crisis: Responding to Uncertainty and Complexity, this time with Sally Gillespie and John Marshall, co-editor of "Environmental Change and the World’s Futures: Ecologies, Ontologies, Mythologies", also had to be cancelled until further notice because of the pandemic. We hope to reschedule this later in 2020.
Seminar 4, June 2020 “Exploring Indigenous Knowledge Systems”—BMCAN has secured Djon Mundine, well known Aboriginal art curator and cultural provocateur, to be our keynote speaker in conversation with Leanne Tobin, to explore art and indigenous knowledge systems.  This seminar will also need to be rescheduled as a result of the pandemic regulations, expected to ban public gatherings for at least three months from April 2020.
After the Fires Exhibition at Gang Gang Gallery
The Wild Mountain Collective, in partnership with Gang Gang Gallery (Sharon Howard) and Gallery H (Sculptor, Henryk Topolnicki) worked with Arts OutWest to secure a grant of $1500 from Regional Arts NSW, and a smaller grant of $500 from Centennial towards mounting an exhibition exploring the impact of the Mt Gosper fire on Lithgow and Dargan.  The exhibition is designed to include a soundart work, Voices After the Fires, weaving together the different perspectives of the trauma of fighting the fires, Aboriginal custodians on fire as caring for country, Chris Tobin’s art camp at Bell, youth on eco anxiety, and visions of new directions for Lithgow beyond its coal-dependent economy.
With support from Regional Arts NSW, the exhibition originally for May has been deferred till July, depending on whether pandemic regulations will allow physical gatherings.
Barbara Lepani, Coordinator Wild Mountain Collective, April 2020
by Julie Ankers
It might look like this ...
A voluntary group of highly-motivated BMCAN’ers has begun to discuss the possibility of designing and staging a new annual Blue Mountains arts festival and trail. The trail will possibly resemble the highly successful Arcadian Trail, a curated annual event that takes place in north-western Sydney and attracts many thousands of visitors. Discussion is at an early stage so if you wish to join the group please contact Graham Tribe or go onto our onlinre forum and tell us your ideas for the forum.
Join the discussion here.
It might look like this ...
We need you.  We know things are financially tight in this year of the pandemic, but to strengthen our collective voice for the arts community, become part of BMCAN, the Blue Mountains engaged community of creatives. Join up as a new member for just $60 the first year, or renew your annual membership for $50 by the end of April.  Remember your management committee of member volunteers is helping to keep our community alive with its web based services and wide range of project activities.  We are all member volunteers in this together.

To join, please complete the membership form online or if you’d prefer to complete registration by hand, please email us at and we will send you the required registration form.

 BMCAN seeks to be a supportive community of engagement for the whole Greater Blue Mountains Creative Arts community, proving the adage: the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts. Please support BMCAN's website based activities and podcasts with your financial membership.  Without your financial membership, these can't happen.
Participate in the Wild Mountain Collective ( become a contributing writer on its blog— just contact its administrator-editor, Barbara Lepani: E:
Engage with the 2020 Greater Blue Mountains Creative Arts Leadership Awards (CALA) by nominating people in our community whom you think have shown great leadership in any of the 12 different categories of awards. Help us discover who they are and celebrate them.  Get the nomination form from the bmcan website: and follow the instructions
Of course you can do all this as a member of the Blue Mountains Arts Community but to fully offer your support become a continuing financial member of BMCAN by going here and joining.

Please check the BCMAN website for details and updates at



 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM 29 APRIL - 29 APRIL


4:00 PM - 5:30 PM 06 MAY - 06 MAY


4:00 PM - 5:30 PM 13 MAY - 13 MAY


4:00 PM - 5:30 PM 27 MAY - 27 MAY
Copyright © 2020 Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network, All rights reserved.

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