New arts leaders wanted

by Rachael Inch

When I arrived in Selwyn as a young, vibrant and naïve ‘townie’, I struggled to adapt and I felt isolated.

So I picked up a brush and started painting.

It gave me a great sense of wellbeing, I joined the local arts council and become an advocate for the arts, especially for young people like me.

In my work helping others, I often think about the types of resources younger artists need in rural communities. For the most part, this means developing ways to help them find funding, sell their work, or learn new skills.

I have often asked myself: What kind of unique resources might motivate young artists to create art in the first place, be connected to their community and stick around to provide the strong, innovative leadership that small towns need?

In other words, what are the conditions of creativity and talent development in a small town, and how does this affect a young person’s decision to stay in Selwyn?

I attended Darfield Artweek recently. 

This has been running for 36 years and is organised by volunteers, many I met when I moved here. This year had a special meaning to me, because I was attending as a sponsor to give back to the community.

Artweek attracts entries from a diverse range of creatives.

It’s a true example of community connection at its best. This year there were 14 awards, with two being awarded to artists under 20 years old.

It’s important to recognise that this exhibition has been successful because of the trust and connection from our older generation.

I noticed that there was the same core of dedicated volunteers running the exhibition, and I asked myself who will keep this going in the future if there are no new volunteers?

When we think of resources for the arts, we don’t always think about creating context for talent development.

It’s my hope for the future that exhibitions like this continue, especially for our young creative people.

To make this possible we need to encourage people to get involved and lend a hand.

I’m committing time to my community and hope that you can join me in doing so too.