ACT News

License article

The art of inclusion

From a periphery on the outskirts of Canberra’s CBD to a lively hub of eclectic arts, NewActon is rapidly becoming an artists’ paradise; and the Art Not Apart Festival is playing a pivotal role in this evolution.

As the brainchild of Molonglo Group events manager and cultural co-ordinator David Caffrey, Art Not Apart was created to be a bustling event based on diversity.

Caffrey and his team aimed to create a space that emphasised, rather than ignored, the connections between different perspectives.

“We became excited by an event that ignores the typical marketing approaches of ‘define a demographic and give them what they want’,” Caffrey said.

“A philosophy degree taught me this approach is fragmenting society.  Polarised events and narrow products are disconnecting us from each other and ourselves.

 “I guess the festival is using art to present the richness of life. We wanted to present Canberrans well. Art Not Apart means connection and this is shown through well-presented, quality art.”


The event has been keenly received by the public and has tripled in size over a six-month period.

The third instalment of the festival will take place on Saturday, March 16.

 Far from resting on the laurels of previous successes, Caffrey and his team have expanded on the strengths of the last Art Not Apart festival.

The festival will feature live art making, roving performers, many different types of artists, a short film festival and about 170 live performers.

New additions include a beautifully-presented solo exhibition of Martin Ollman’s photography, a conversion of Canberra’s iconic April’s Caravan into a kitsch 1960s home and a painter interpreting music on stage. A $1000 busking competition is sure to attract high-quality local musicians.

“We had a big call for artists and now those people are preparing for the event – come and discover them,” Caffrey said.

“Quality art is like an existential compass.  Nietzsche believed the west is homeless, but creating an artistic culture is to create a sense of home.  Support our arts scene and discover new perspectives.  It’s good for you and helps develop our city,” he said.

Caffrey believes the Art Not Apart Festival can expand into the future, with the NewActon precinct providing the perfect setting for further development of an event he hopes will grow to be intrinsically linked with Canberra – and Canberra alone. 

“If there’s anything we hope to achieve in the future it’s to show our city to have its own exciting culture, not a borrowed identity from Melbourne or elsewhere – this event is not ‘oh so Melbourne’, Melbourne doesn’t have one of these festivals,” he said.

“We are here – let’s find meaning in this statement.”

ART NOT APART: NewActon Precinct - Saturday March 16, 2013.