Where most festivals are making announcements of cancellations and delays, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale is doing the opposite and forging ahead with plans and exhibitions for its 2021 event.
BIFB artistic director Fiona Sweet said she had three plans - one for the festival to go ahead as in previous years, one if indoor venues are closed but outdoor exhibitions are still allowed, and a third plan if the entire festival had to go online.
In the past week the call has gone out for photographers and local Ballarat venues to be part of the 2021 event.
Last year 65 venues across Ballarat from art galleries to small cafes played host to photographic exhibitions and Ms Sweet hoped the two month biennale would expand even further next year.
"In the past it was always very strict and venues had to be open seven days a week because of the artists, but we're not going to be as strict with opening hours next year.
"We know from surveying the venues in 2019 that all the cafes that have exhibitions get all the people coming to visit them ... and we think there's value for them and the artists even if they're not open seven days, because there are enough people coming through the week."
Ms Sweet has put the call out for any venues willing to host an exhibition as part of the Open Program during the 2021 BIFB, scheduled to run from August 28 to October 24, to apply.
The call also went out last week for entries to the prestigious Martin Kantor Portrait Prize, but Ms Sweet is unsure what impact COVID-19 lockdowns will have on the number of entries.
Despite only opening the competition last week, Ms Sweet said there were already four or five entries submitted.
"Until lockdown really changes most photographers have got to wait until they're allowed out to do portraits," she said.
Portraits must be of a significant Australian and Ms Sweet encouraged local photographers to think about significant people in our region.
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"There's some interesting people who have appeared through this COVID disaster who have become almost heroes in what they have done and allow for their story to be told. We really want the Ballarat community of artists to know we want to make sure this component of our exhibition has local artists celebrating local legends."
In recent week the reach of BIFB has travelled interstate with images from its Mass Isolation project being projected on billboards in Sydney's Liverpool and Bunjil Place in Queensland.
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