Plunge instagram montage
Plunge instagram montage Adam Hourigan

All over in an Instagram - highlights from plunge 2016

FOUR weeks of art, culture, theatre and music which has enlivened the Clarence Valley has come to an end with the official wrap of the fourth plunge festival.

And by all accounts, it will be remembered as one of the best.

Co-ordinator Lou Gumb said she was amazed at the public response to the Clarence Valley Council's month-long program.

"Everyone is saying it's so much bigger and better this year and my reply has been, it's kind of the same," she laughed.

"As far as the guide goes it's the same number of events and same layout, they've just embraced it more this year which is good."

Plunge festival coordinator Lou Gumb with Maclean High School teacher/librarian Del Cameron at the Origami cranes exhibition so far created by Maclean High students at the pop-up gallery in Yamba.
Plunge festival coordinator Lou Gumb with Maclean High School teacher/librarian Del Cameron at the Origami cranes exhibition so far created by Maclean High students at the pop-up gallery in Yamba. Adam Hourigan

The plunge Pop Up Hub, an artspace with exhibits, workshops and studio space, saw more than 700 people walk through the doors over its four weeks of operation.

"That's phenomenal given that I just didn't know how it would go," Ms Gumb said. "This is our third pop-up, but the first two were in Maclean. I think we had more to offer this time around.

"Last time we were in a small building and a tiny workshop, while this time we had artist in residence (Graham Mackie), who's really well-known, so I think that really helped. And the fact we invited people to come any time and do their artwork."

>> Cultural festival hub features exhibitions and workshops

The pop-up hub was so successful a number of artists are now making an effort to retain use of the space in Yamba's industrial area permanently.

26 March kicks off another 31 days of arts and culture across the Clarence Valley.
26 March kicks off another 31 days of arts and culture across the Clarence Valley.

"The purpose of plunge is to initiate the community to engage in arts so it has definitely achieved that goal," Ms Gumb said.

"The whole idea is to support art and cultural industries. It's not something council can do full time, but it can sit under that plunge banner."

Featured artist Penny Stuart, who exhibited at the hub and also helped run the 'my place' themed 8x8 miniatures competition and exhibition at Maclean's Ferry Park, said people were already asking her what next year's theme would be, so entrants could start creating again.

Winner of the Lower Clarence Arts and Crafts 8x8 competition Beverly Scofield with her piece
Winner of the Lower Clarence Arts and Crafts 8x8 competition Beverly Scofield with her piece "My Place Main Beach Yamba" Adam Hourigan

As for having her work exhibited, Ms Stuart said she thought it was a fantastic opportunity to be represented in a group of artists around the Valley.

"Every time I came here it was lively, lots of people passing through and lots of interaction," she said.

"My only complaint is that there was too much on, and only four weekends to do everything... but the fact that there's an intense period of arts events is really good because hopefully that sustains the interest for the rest of the year."

But where Ms Stuart was keen to see a more spread out festival next year, Maclean artist Malcolm King would like to see more events.

"Plunge I think is fantastic for the Valley and Lou did such an amazing job making it work," he said.

"I'd like to see more music events but it's all kind of building.

"And I think it's something that's really needed. There are a lot of people involved and I don't think the local government realises yet that it could be far more important as an economic driver."



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