New chapter for kids festival

  ACCLAIMED artist Rose Skinner has been secured for next year’s Fun4Kids Festival to widen audience appeal for the Warrnambool winter event.

Her addition to the program came through an Australia Council for the Arts grant of $46,320 which recognised the festival’s national significance.

Perth-based Skinner will create a number of installations based on a wonderland storybook theme that children can touch, smell and hear.

Her designs will use ideas submitted by local students and a selected group of students will have the chance to work with her in the Warrnambool Art Gallery.

The announcement comes a fortnight after Warrnambool City Council pledged up to $450,000 a year in continued support for the Civic Green festival which has posted shortfalls in all its 14 years.

Mayor Michael Neoh said the commitment allowed festival organisers to plan for cost-effective programs with wider appeal.

The council’s events and promotions co-ordinator Bec Elmes said Skinner’s involvement would add a new dimension. 

“I was so excited when we were allocated the grant because Rose’s work is so unique,” Ms Elmes said.

“We secured the largest amount of funding in the allocations round — obviously the arts council sees value in what we do.

“Storybook is a new project within the festival — this style and type of arts-driven activity has not been part of the program before.

“Rose and I started chatting about 12 months ago and I applied for the funding in September.

“She visited Warrnambool this month and will return two weeks before the festival and collaborate with gallery curator Ingrid Hedgcock.

“Next year we will roll out a competition for students to design storybook characters and choose entries that Rose will use.”

Skinner will create a network of surreal objects using everyday materials with theatrical lighting, aromas and ambient sounds.

Ms Elmes said efforts to increase the visual arts component of the festival were continuing with calls to artists interested in participating in the 2015 program.

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