ACT News


Art festival to expand from West Basin to the ANU

A collaborative and community based artistic festival is set to return to Canberra in March and expand its reach to the Australian National University and a pop-up village made of shipping containers on the shores of West Basin.

The  Art, Not Apart Festival, which has been hosted in the New Acton precinct for the past three years, provides local artists with a chance to showcase their work to the Canberra community.  

"This expansion reflects the willingness of government, ANU and the private sector to contribute to the cultural development of our city," said festival producer David Caffery.

"New Acton has consistently supported Canberra artists, but we can only go so far."

Mr Caffery said the festival had been stretched for space in previous years and the collaboration had the potential to create a new artistic zone spanning from a comical beach by the lake to the centre of the university campus.

"A festival is a way to trial this collaboration and do something bold. And it will be bold," he said.


Festival curator Chloe Mandryk has called for Canberran artists to contribute to the festival and to "reflect on the present or imagine the future".

"Our goal is to support artists to speak to audiences, to say something through a careful presentation of art and environment," she said.

"The programming is focused on illuminating existing art practices and supporting the production of new work."

Festival organisers have secured $50,000 to support local artists with anything they need to achieve success during the festival.

"It's uniquely Canberran because the program is shaped by Canberra's artists – you can't find them anywhere else," said Mr Caffery.

"There'll be national and international artists to give a outside perspective, but the focus is on the locals."

Mr Caffery said the festival would host a beach party near a small but "hilarious" 3-4 metre stretch of sand on the shores of the West Basin.

The festival will incorporate the shipping container village currently being constructed on the shores of the West Basin, which plans to offer a roof-top bar , retail spaces and cafes.

Ronan Moss, the chief designer of the project which has received $800,000 from the ACT government, said the village would be an exciting addition to Canberra.

"The area will be based on the concept of a shipping precinct but there will be a bespoke element to it with lookout towers and around 3000 pieces of steel."

The project will be built and managed by the Stomping Ground Collective, which includes some of the minds behind popular Braddon cafe Lonsdale Street Roasters.

Stomping Ground Collective spokesman Terry Shaw said the precinct should be open in time for Canberrans to enjoy "a fantastic summer experience". 

The Art, Not Apart festival will launch on March 15 and feature psychedelic live art, dance parties, and documentary screenings.

To take part in the festival, artists must submit a 350-500 word application before the end of the year outlining their proposal for funding and space required.