Recovery Activation Fund supports new creative projects

The City of Greater Bendigo’s $40,000 Creative Recovery Activation Fund has led to over 14 new creative projects being developed with more planned to support artists and creatives.

The local arts and creative industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The City Recovery Activation Fund was set up last October to provide opportunities for creatives to maintain and grow their skills and support those who have been unable to work due to cancelled public events and the closure of venues.

Director Strategy and Growth Bernie O’Sullivan said the City grants of up to $3,000 were made available and the response to the call out from creatives was strong.

“The brief was to support the local creative economy and activate our public spaces and we received many imaginative and innovative ideas from applicants,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“I’m delighted that many of these events and activation ideas have now come to fruition for the community to enjoy with more scheduled over the coming months.”

Some of the Love Your Local Creative events coming up include ‘Dear Bendigo’ which invites community members to inspire, thank, congratulate or highlight their favourite part of Bendigo. It will take place tomorrow, Friday February 12, between 11am and 4pm at the Emerge Cultural Hub at the Beehive Building on Pall Mall. People are asked to write their message then step in front of the camera and display it. Photographer and artist Michelle Dunn will record the contributions to create a projection that will be screened in a Bendigo window space soon.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day on Sunday February 14, Paganini in the Park will be held at the Garden for the Future at 2pm, a chamber music pop-up performance from Ruby Shirres, Cally Bartlett and Ann Begg. The program will feature Paganini's Terzetto Concertante for viola, cello and guitar. Entry is free.

Local musicians can record music or sound for free at the Rood Henry’s Art Space, Palling Bros Brewery in Heathcote. Free recording sessions, open to all ages, are available from February 22 to 27 and include mixing and mastering of tracks. Register via email: [email protected]

The inaugural Bendigo Open Studios is taking place over the long weekend in March (6, 7 and 8) between 10am and 4pm. The community is invited to register and visit more than 30 artists at their studios and explore diverse and quality artworks. Those who register will receive the Bendigo Open Studio Map and have automatic entry to win original artworks. To register, please visit

The Back Creek Art Trail Scavenger Hunt will run April 2 to April 21 (during the Easter school holidays). The Scavenger Hunt activity has been designed by Wes Franklin to activate Bendigo’s unique Back Creek Art Trail, connecting the community through cycling, walking and art. This new program will encourage participants to find scavenger hunt tiles using clues, visit some of Bendigo’s best cafés, discover the location of the secret mural, and go into the draw to win a prize.

Hearts of Gold is a collaborative work between Indigenous artist Aunty Marilyne Nicholls and British migrant artist Helena Read. Grounded in the traditions of their respective cultures and families, this work combines traditional weaving, printmaking and sculpture to explore the complex and problematic local histories of gold mining and genocide. It will take place at various locations from May 23 to June 3. 

The Love Your Local Creative campaign will also support the development of new free exhibitions showcasing the latest artwork by local artists.

Ainsely O’Connor’s exhibition Anastasia Maher will be showing at Dudley House from February 18 to 28. This series of work is composed of darkroom prints, archival images, documents, and an accompanying photobook. A modern exploration of the Victorian Goldfields, this exhibition will portray the story of O’Connor’s ancestor who lived throughout the goldrush.

Narcissus Herself is an exhibition of self-portrait work from emerging Bendigo based artist Melanie Thoren at Dudley House from April 23 to May 4. The work focuses on using portraiture to explore inner emotions and identity.

Andre Sardone Steel Life is an exhibition exploring the link between art and nature, consisting of sculptural works in steel by Andre Sardone and photographs by Bridget Finch. The exhibition will be held at Dudley House from June 16 to June 29.

More pop-up performances and installations to activate the city are planned soon. Please visit to keep up to date with forthcoming events.



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