Nominee Category – Organisations
The Big Fix
The Big Fix, a registered charity and shown outstanding community leadership as an umbrella organisation for a number of initiatives. These include The Big Fix Media (sharing the ‘ﬁxing news, not the breaking news), Blue Mountains Pluriversity (multi-cultural and intergenerational program to increase post-school pathways), Edgy Blue Mountains (social enterprise platform and incubator that attracts young people to the mountains), Blue Mountains Permaculture Institute and Blackheath Community Farm. Working with every sector, The Big Fix positions the arts as essential for everyone moving forward, because it is our artists, designers and storytellers that are the drivers of social change. With its programs, The Big Fix has engaged dozens of artists, writers, editors and performers to tell stories of our better selves, increasing employment for the creative arts sector.
Blackheath Theatre Company
The Blackheath Theatre Company is a strong leader in the performing arts, with its annual three seasons with inclusive auditions encourages people of all ages and abilities within the community to get involved. The theatre company hosts regular workshops for acting, writing, directing, production and stage management to build the skills of the community. The theatre is going from strength to strength and attracts members from Glenbrook to Lithgow. Each season enjoys good attendance from the community. Blackheath Theatre Company encourages local playwrights to submit their work to become part of the annual theatre season.
Blue Mountains Makers
Margaret Hamilton AM is a recognised leader in children’s literature. She has had many years’ experience with children’s books, as a children’s librarian, bookseller, publisher and a parent. Margaret has been involved with the Children’s Book Council of Australia for many years and is a former Deputy Chair of the National Board. Margaret Hamilton Books philosophy is ‘that children have a right to the best of everything, especially books’. Margaret has continued to tirelessly promote and advance children’s literature, most recently through the program of Illustrator workshops at Pinerolo. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2008 ‘for service to the arts through the promotion of children’s literature and literacy and through support for authors and illustrators’.
Blue Mountains Music Festival
The Blue Mountains Music Festival (BMMF) of grass roots, blues and jazz music has been bringing internationally and nationally renowned musicians to the Blue Mountains community annually for a national festival held over a weekend in March, for nearly 25 years. In this it has made a significant contribution to the cultural tourism industry so vital to the Blue Mountains. The festival features local, national and international musicians performing across eight stages, with over 110 concerts as well as songwriter and instrumental circles, Heartland Conversations and roaming performers. BMFF is a Blue Mountains signature event and is part of the folk and blues festivals national circuit. The community participates through an extensive volunteering program including food stalls run by community groups, which raises money for them as well as contributes to the festival’s financial viability.
Fusion Boutique works with multiple local venues presenting quality entertainment and tailoring the programs to suit the venue. The aim is to bring great musical talent and entertainment to the Blue Mountains region as well as continuing the momentum of artists to include the Blue Mountains as a touring destination. Fusion Boutique also showcases local and emerging talent in conjunction with the high calibre touring acts. They have helped to establish three new performance spaces to reinvigorate businesses in the local area and to raise the profile of the Blue Mountains creative live music industry.
Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains
Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains (MAPBM) has shown outstanding leadership in the visual arts sector of the Blue Mountains. It supports and advocates for exhibitions of contemporary multi-form art and engages with the wider Blue Mountains community in developing a new critical agenda for contemporary art in the region. Their role in professional development of contemporary artists includes organising curatorial and artistic residencies, holding symposia and workshops, organising studio visits and show and tell sessions. Since its formation in 2014, MAPBM has delivered nearly 40 successful projects, attracting over 7,000 attendances, and providing exhibition and professional development opportunities for hundreds of artists.
Spooky Men’s Chorale
The Spooky Men’s Chorale have been actively engaged in the Blue Mountains community for well over 15 years, performing at a wide variety of events, from charity events to major concerts. They have toured internationally and have appeared at major festivals. The Spooky Men Chorale has recorded seven CDs to date. With over 500+ gigs, they employ a judicious combination of Georgian table songs, pindrop beautiful ballads, highly inappropriate covers and immaculate man anthems.
The Blue Mountains Tool Library and Artist Resource Centre (TOOLO) is a not-for-profit charity devoted to supporting the creative arts community by providing shared resources and creative development programs. Local premises have been revitalised via programs The Kiosk and Digital Ecology Lab, providing employment and training, as well as exhibition spaces and the opportunity to collaborate. TOOLO organises and supports local art workshops and an annual members’ art exhibition. They also host Repair Café in Katoomba where members of the community can bring in broken items to be repaired by volunteers.
Varuna Blue Mountains Writers Festival
Varuna is recognised as Australia’s pre-eminent institution for writing development. Each year, over 150 writers participate in residencies and professional development programs at Varuna, and many 100 more readers and writers participate in their workshop programs and literary events. In 2019, the inaugural four-day Blue Mountains Writers’ Festival was held. It comprised a diverse program from author talks and discussions, literary dinners, children and young adult events, music and writing workshops. Varuna has a range of community programs from Blue Fringe (supporting people with mental illness) and fellowships supporting for First Nations writers and publishers. Varuna support the development of excellence, innovation and diversity in new work.
Weatherboard Theatre exists to support and promote local writers, actors and directors to perform and promote their work to audiences and arts organisations in the Blue Mountains and Sydney. In 2017, through a grant, Weatherboard Theatre held a scriptwriting competition, Mountain Voices, for local writers. Finalists worked with script consultants to develop their scripts. Weatherboard held auditions and invited 19 actors to take part in script development workshops and rehearsals. These actors also performed readings of 3 winning scripts held at The Carrington Hotel. After each of the 3 readings there was a Q&A session with the audience, writers, directors and actors.