Determined not to let restrictions on public gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic stop Gunning Arts Festival from going ahead, organisers have decided to go online.
Art will be photographed and exhibited on its website and videos of musicians, authors, performers and workshops will be uploaded at the same time as they were due to appear on the schedule.
Gunning Arts Festival committee chair Michelle Storey said this would not only be great for people stuck at home in isolation but also for artists who have lost work and income because of the pandemic.
"We plan to video as much as we can. The musicians in Sydney are going to video themselves and send to us and we may use existing material for others," she said.
"We think we can make it work and I think it will cheer everyone up enormously."
While the artists would have made more through ticket sales to live events, the festival will have small funds to pay the artists with and plans to include a donate button on the website.
Among the online videos will be a workshop on making hand-felted wool and silk scarves and a tour of the historical display at Pye Cottage.
The content will be uploaded from Friday evening on April 17, when the festival was due to open and all day on Saturday, April 18.
The wearable art and community art exhibitions will also be online and works will be available to purchase.
People will also be able to vote for their favourite piece in the community exhibition to go into the running for the Derivan Matisse Prize Pack valued at $500 and an offer to stage a solo exhibition at The Picture House Gallery in 2021.
Festival patron and The Picture House Gallery owner Margarita Georgiadis said she and husband Max Cullen had already received ten entries across various disciplines for the community art exhibition.
"All the entries we've received so far are great quality and across the board, abstract and representational works, and people have been really creative. We haven't received any photography yet, so I'm hoping that will start coming through," she said.
Ms Georgiadis said going online would also open up the exhibition to more artists across the Southern Tablelands as they no longer had to post their art to the gallery but instead provide a photo.
"I hope people gets excited by it. I know I get caught up in the news and it's depressing. But I think if we keep going and keep seeing the positive in what we're doing then we can uplift not only our immediate community but everyone out there," she said.
This is the festival's first year and by practising videoing content now the organisers may incorporate more online content in future years.
And if all of the content cannot be uploaded in April, organisers will continue to add it to the website and let people know on Facebook when it's available.
"One of the things we were trying to do with the festival was break down the tyranny of distance. It's hard for people in the region to get to a cultural event. So we thought clustering all the events in one day made it efficient for people to drive some distance. But of course if we make the online thing work, the tyranny of distance gets even better," Ms Storey said.
Crookwell RSL Sub-Branch said it would explore ways to observe Anzac Day without drawing large crowds and the Collector Pumpkin Festival committee also said it would look for ideas to make use of pumpkins grown for the event, since both were cancelled because of coronavirus.
The website is gunningartsfestival.com.
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