Next month’s Biennale of Australian Art is said to be the largest showcase of Australian art ever presented, with the works of more than 150 artists set to take over the town.
Art of all sizes will be installed across the city in some very public and very unexpected spaces, just waiting to be discovered.
BOAA is the creation of director Julie Collins who had the idea to create the largest showcase of living Australian artists ever.
“It will be a one-stop shop for people to be able to see all different genres and all different mediums from artists from all over Australia,” she said.
“It’s a great opportunity to get out and see what’s actually happening and the diversity of art. They may not love everything but they will definitely like a lot of what’s on show.
“It’s an event that will help drive the Ballarat renaissance as a city of arts and culture and herald a coming of age for Australian audiences and artists alike.”
The 150 artists taking part equally represent each state and territory with Ballarat artists joining as a ninth state with works from every artistic genre imaginable.
“There’s about 1500 pieces of artwork coming to Ballarat and 97 per cent of those are pieces have been created specifically for BOAA,” Ms Collins said.
Among those are nine giant 8m artworks – one from every state and territory – hung as part of The Great Australian Landscape at St Andrew’s Church.
“Some are photos, some of the works are painted, some from printmakers, some digital prints and St Andrew’s is going to be an amazing space to exhibit them in as we are constructing hovering walls to put over the top of the pews.”
The six week BOAA event is expected to draw thousands of art lovers to Ballarat with the exhibitions being held across three art villages over 47 days with a program curated to encourage overnight stays.
Despite its title BOAA is not just about the art, and it is accessible for adults, children and families whether or not they know much about Australian art.
There’s a music program of more than 50 events, many of which will be performed from the purpose-built BOAA Band Wagon, a converted shipping container on a truck that becomes a stage featuring contemporary Australian musicians.
Performances will be held every weekend at Lake Wendouree and the grounds of St Andrews, with the Mining Exchange and Ballaarat Mechanics Institute hosting mid-week lunchtime, evening concerts and special events.
The festival is also about food and drink with four BOAA Pit Stops popping up across the city offering food and local beers and wines.
With less than a month to go before BOAA opens on September 21, Ms Collins said final preparations were underway.
“We’ve got a whole team constructing walls, doing fit outs and making plinths who are in full-on construction mode. We’re fitting out the containers for the pit stops and putting together a 180 page glossy catalogue, getting parcels and boxes of art work and boxes.”
“The scale and physicality of Ballarat will provide the ideal ‘whole of town’ gallery experience for audiences,” Ms Collins said.
The most visible artworks – the 36 sculptures making up the BOAA Lakeside Sculpture Walk around Lake Wendouree and 40 public artworks along Sturt Street and around the city – will be installed in the week before the opening.
BOAA runs from September 21 to November 6. For the full program visit boaa.net.au
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