By Adam Norris
BellBottom chats with Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery’s new acting curator, Ash Frost about our regions bright future
The Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery is renown for its ever-evolving exhibitions that showcase some of the region’s finest art. It is this community-engaged creative scene that lured Programs Facilitator, Ash Frost back from WA to be part of our thriving local art scene, and to help find opportunities for the next generation of artists.
“I come from a community arts background, previously working in WA with Noongar community,” Frost explains. “the projects I coordinated were driven by the community, spanning across a number of creative mediums, from ceramics, textiles, to documentaries and visual arts. I’m always looking for the ways in which arts projects can culminate in exhibitions that provide opportunities for the community to showcase their work and stories. That’s why I’m proud to work in the gallery, museum and library team as we strive to showcase stories through art, literature and history that is for and about the community.”
Connecting with the community sits at the very heart of the CHRG, as showcased with their most recent undertaking, the Be Still Project, which encourages members of the public to submit their own still-life impressions of these Covid-19 times. While Frost believes our artistic community is already creating outstanding work, there are certain demographics yet to be fully represented.
“I think there is a lot of established artists here, but I am interested in what work people from my demographic are making- say high school age to thirty five. I do see this demographic starting to have a presence, like the arts initiatives from Jess from the Art Dept. and Alyson from Planet Art. I do however want to see this demographic grow with more opportunities for younger artists and art-workers within Coffs. I see that opportunity with the Cultural and Civic Space, which was the main reason for me moving back here. I see the project as a huge opportunity – a hub, where people can go and experience contemporary offers that are experimental and engaging.”
To that end, in addition to two new August exhibitions, one of the most exciting events on the horizon combines the most prestigious art prize in the country with a remarkable opportunity for younger artists.
“We have the 2019 Archibald coming to the gallery, which I think is really exciting for the community – with it comes to opportunity to run the Young Archies, a competition across four different age groups to create a portrait. These works will be shown alongside the Archibald Prize. It’s an incredible opportunity [and] it lets kids and young people see their work in the space along with some of the best work in Australia. I think it will inspire young creatives to see that the gallery is for them, and there’s a space for them in there.”
Upcoming exhibition info: www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/gallery