BALLARAT is set to follow in the footsteps of Hobart and its “MONA effect” with the announcement of a new arts biennale to be held in 2018.
Public art consultant Julie Collins said it was expected the Biennale of Australian Art would draw in $10 million to Ballarat’s economy from an anticipated 100,000 visitors.
This will cement Ballarat as a city of the arts.Julie Collins
BOAA will be held over six weeks in September and October 2018 throughout more than 50 indoor and outdoor locations across Ballarat, showcasing the work of more than 150 Australian artists.
Ms Collins is currently touring across Australia commissioning artists to create original works for the event, and is also on the hunt for the $2.5 million worth of funding required for the event.
She said the festival would be unique in Australia – the only similar event was held in Adelaide, but only in two indoor venues.
Instead, BOAA will be held across Ballarat’s historic buildings, its outdoor locations including Victoria Park and Lake Wendouree, and also plans to activate disused, neglected and abandoned spaces.
Ms Collins has just stepped down from her role as curator of the Lorne Sculpture Biennale to take on the Ballarat project full-time. She said not only would BOAA cement Ballarat’s position as the go-to location for the arts in Victoria, it would attract scores of artists to move and re-home in the city.
“When I first moved here 10 years ago, I thought the physicality of Ballarat was perfect to hold an indoor and outdoor festival because of its heritage buildings and lakes and gardens,” she said.
“To do this in Melbourne, it would get lost. In a city like Ballarat, you can get that whole-of-town experience.”
She said two and a half years seemed like a long lead time to start promoting BOAA, but she needed to start early to get the required support for such a huge project. Currently, the City of Ballarat and Ballarat Regional Tourism have already offered in-principal support.
“It takes a village to put on these kind of events. As everyone is aware, the federal government has made some cutbacks in the arts. The community needs to step up and realise they can get these things off the ground.”
Ms Collins said BOAA would feed off a trend already occurring in Ballarat.
“Over the past five years or so, the arts in Ballarat has become more of a focus and a lot more galleries (like The Lost Ones in Camp Street) have opened up,” she said.
“A lot of artists have moved into Ballarat and this has raised the cultural aspects of the city. This is just going to keep happening.
“This will cement Ballarat as a city of the arts.”
BOAA will be officially launched at The Lost Ones this Thursday from 6pm. RSVP to email@example.com