ACT News

Art, Not Apart festival brings Canberra people together

From billboard size spray-painted works to knick-knacks from suitcases, Art, Not Apart brought the diverse range of Canberrans' creative interests together on Saturday.

Chilled-out crowds at the NewActon festival could buy everything from old Superman comics to striking paintings of nature, or relax to poetry, cabaret or classical music performances.

Nava Chapman's five-year-old son, Rama, was one of many who took the chance to create their own art on the day, joining half a dozen other children painting on a lawn about 10 metres from one of the busy laneways.

Mr Chapman said the one-day festival encouraged others to give art a try, and was perfectly located at the modern precinct which combines sophisticated buildings with welcoming public spaces.

"It's very Canberra really, a bit of city, bit of country," he said.

"It's awesome to have this opportunity for Canberra people to display their artwork and connect with the community."


Festival organiser Dave Caffery said about 200 artists had come together for this year's event, and the combination of hand-made wares, documentaries, dance and drama offered something for all.

"It's a very inclusive attitude," he said. "One of the concerns I'm trying to address is the fragmentation of society at the moment. It's edgy as well, it's punchy art."

Mr Caffery, NewActon's events and cultural coordinator, said a brief downpour around 5pm didn't dampen the strong crowd's enthusiasm, with a violinist continuing a performance.

While some of the skin-baring artwork displayed in the Nishi building was suited to adult tastes, on the lawns about 50 metres away children could find colourful puppets, the creations of Marianne Mettes.

The young Dickson puppet maker, performer and teacher - who in recent months has done work for Sesame Street - gave up a radio job offer in 2009 to follow her dreams, and on Saturday was selling some of her creations. "It's great to be immersed with other artists, in between the art, and good to see so many people engaged."