I've been a PACO at Western Riverina Arts since August 2013 until today.
That stands for Projects and Communications Officer. It was a part-time role, so it's pleasing to see 117 pieces in the media clippings folder. That's around one a week!
My involvement with Western Riverina Arts began before the organisation was formed, as I attended the public meetings in 2010 when Leeton Shire Council first developed the idea of establishing a regional arts board.
I wrote a letter to support the idea and I, in my role as Corporate Communications Manager at Council, remember suggesting the tagline "Connecting Creative Communities" from the words that Lyn Williams had selected. It's pleasing to see how many other regional arts boards now use something similar.
In 2012, after I'd left Council, I was employed to run workshops on behalf of Western Riverina Arts at Leeton and Narrandera libraries. I later ran similar workshops again at these venues in this role during 2015.
In 2013 I joined the Reimagining The Murrumbidgee project that was funded by the CMA as an artist creating a soundtrack. Then after I began working here, was given the opportunity to design the exhibition catalogue.
I also contributed to the development of government-funded projects, such as proposing an upcoming Laptop Orchestra project supported through FRRR and suggesting the oral history project that became For Prosperity's Sake -- one of a few pilot creative-ageing projects in NSW.
Another contribution to the activities of Western Riverina Arts was a photography competition in Leeton that was run in 2014 and 2015, which attracted dozens of entries.
(Sadly we decided to discontinue this in 2016 after Council started their own competition that would've made promotion confusing. This irks me as we had always included in the conditions of our competition the possibility of sharing images with Council.)
One more thing I've enjoyed in this role was talking to the audience at Dream Big in 2014. You can hear my tips for promoting creativity in this video.
Finally, I'd like to say what a joy it's been to promote local artists. There are many people creating stimulating work in our region and it's been a pleasure to learn about them.
I've had some success getting stories out to a wider audience, such as this profile of Mel Ifield that was seen in Canberra and this piece on Sarah McEwan's Her Riot project. More recently a piece on the upcoming Griffith Sculptural Symposium was used by Regional Arts NSW and Griffith City Council's insert in local newspaper The Area News.
Working for Western Riverina Arts has opened new opportunities for me. I'm now working as a curator at Pioneer Park Museum and am utilising what I learned from Derek about Instagram for use there.
I've also learned how to apply for funding and will be delivering a CASP project in June there. These opportunities have made me realise that my focus has shifted from working at WRA and, as a result, I need to move on.
So, so long and thanks. Hopefully another person can benefit from the role now.