If you're interested in the arts and their place in Canberra - and would you be reading this if you weren't? - then The Childers Group invites you to come to its first forum, which has the incendiary theme Burning Issue and Radical Ideas. It's on at 5.30pm on Wednesday at the Street Theatre, and will be an opportunity for all participants to share their burning issues and radical ideas. Childers Group spokesman David Williams says, ''The Childers Group is keen to do things differently, to show that the arts should be placed at the very centre of a vibrant and audacious society such as Canberra and the region it serves … No matter who you are, no matter what your issue or idea, we want everyone to have the opportunity to come to the table - literally.'' The speakers for the forum are: Centenary of Canberra creative director Robyn Archer; Liberal arts spokeswoman Vicki Dunne, Greens arts spokeswoman Caroline Le Couteur, urban poet/performer Omar Musa, and You Are Here festival producer Yolande Norris. The forum will be facilitated by ABC Radio's Genevieve Jacobs. RSVP by 5pm Monday through Shoeb Ahmad at the Street Theatre on ushers@thestreet.org.au or call 6247 1223.

Restoration work on Firestorm Tree

The impact of the 2003 bushfires lives on but here's a piece of good news. This week ACT Arts Minister Joy Burch announced restoration work will soon begin on the Firestorm Story Tree. It commemorates the bushfire that hit the Mt Taylor Estate community in January 2003 and was carved by Canberra artist Bryan Carrick on one of the trees that was left standing after the devastating firestorm. The tree was unveiled in October 2005 and is a symbol of the Mt Taylor Estate community's spirit and resilience. Burch said that ArtsACT would commence investigative work on the Firestorm Story Tree in the next two weeks and prepare a conservation management plan. A conservation specialist would oversee the restoration, which would involve Carrick and would take about three months.

Art at the end of the world

Ever thought about the end of the world? If you are a member of Canberra Contemporary Art Space you're invited to submit an artwork in the 2012 members' exhibition, which has precisely that theme. The exhibition will be held on May 18-19 in CCAS Gorman House. There will be no size or price restrictions (but if a work is bigger than 1.5 metres please discuss) and awards include a cash prize of $500 for the winner (better spend it fast if the end really is nigh). The deadline for works to be dropped off is 3.30pm on May 12 at CCAS Gorman House Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon. For more information please contact Annika Harding on 6247 0188 or info@ccas.com.au.

Mixed media at Gorman House

Speaking of Canberra Contemporary Art Space, three exhibitions opened in Gorman House last night. When Wishing Still Worked by Sister Wives (aka Helen Braund, Tiffany Cole and Shellaine Godbold) creates a fairytale world that, like the stories that inspired it, is often deceptive and dangerous. In Tell Them I Said Something … Roh Singh takes some famous final utterances and makes sculptures by recording them as sound bytes, and then producing computer visuals whose peaks and troughs are used to inform a computer-aided design wood-turning machine. And in Grow, Matthew Day Perez asks viewers to consider where glass comes from in a mixed-media project. The exhibitions run until May 13.

Vivid colours in still life

Dean Hunt's exhibition Nature & Design continues the West Australian-born and trained artist's exploration of the still life with vivid colours and intricate compositions. It opens today with the artist in attendance at 3pm at Paintbox Fine Art, 32 Lonsdale Street, Braddon, and runs until May 6. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 3pm. Phone: 6162 1717.

Piano and strings at Wesley

Next Saturday at 4pm, the Australian National University Friends of the School of Music, in a joint venture with Wesley Music Foundation, will present a concert of classical and chamber music at Wesley Music Centre, 20 National Circuit, Forrest. Students from the school will play piano works, including some for four hands. The Wolfgang student string quartet will play chamber pieces, including some composed or arranged by them. Proceeds from the concert will assist students at the School of Music through scholarships or other awards. Adults $30, concession (pensioners, seniors and Friends of the School of Music) $25, students/children $10. Normal discounts for Friends of Wesley will apply. Refreshments included. Tickets are available at the door, but booking is recommended online at wesleycanberra/music. For more information: music.anu.edu.au/supportus/friends.

Moments of nostalgia

Do you agree with Peter De Vries that ''Nostalgia ain't what it used to be?'' Regardless, nostalgia is the common theme of three exhibitions continuing at PhotoAccess Huw Davies Gallery until April 29. Kerry Baylor in Saturday Morning Water shows images of Merewether Beach in Newcastle where she spent her childhood, recorded as an adult with a sympathetic but not sentimental eye. Alison Spence in Milkshakes & Mixed Lollies also looks to a childhood, hers in Victoria, and explores the declining corner shop, the milkbar, where some will recall jars of lollies, milkshakes served in aluminium cups and lots of laminex and soft drink advertising posters. And, no doubt, memories of their own. In the Multimedia Room is Untitled Moments, a digital animation by Tim Brook and Ruth Hingston with sound track by Alistair Riddell. It's a digital animation based on embroidery, a not-so-common craft today. Untitled Moments was first shown at CraftACT last year.

Botanic Gardens inspires art

The botanical exhibition Art in the Gardens with Friends, curated by the Friends Botanical Art Group, opened this week. The exhibition brings together 67 works by both amateur and professional artists who have a special interest in Australian native plants and who seek to portray plants found in the Australian National Botanic Gardens' living collection. It's on in the Australian National Botanic Gardens visitor centre gallery, Clunies Ross Street, Acton, until May 13. The exhibition was first held at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in 2008. Because of its popularity and success, the exhibition has become an annual event for the gardens: this is the fifth.

Portrait of Kiribati

ANU Climate Change Institute executive director Professor Will Steffen opened two Kiribati-themed exhibitions earlier this month at the ANU School of Art, drawing attention to the series of atolls in the equatorial Pacific facing extinction from the storms, waves and other problems battering it. In the School of Art Gallery is Portraits from the Edge: Putting a Face to Climate Change by Jon Lewis, who spent six months documenting the place and the people. In the Foyer Gallery is a selection of Robin White's work in a variety of media, made during the 17 years she lived in Kiribati. The exhibitions finish on April 28. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 10.30am-5pm, and Saturday, noon-5pm.