18 October 2023

First open day in three years means public can see 'unique' site (and its artistic treasures)

| Claire Sams
Exterior of weatherboard house with garden

The historic Strathnairn Homestead will be open for the first open day in three years later this month. Photo: Supplied.

After a three-year break, open days at a north Canberra homestead-turned-art centre are back – and there’s plenty on the schedule.

Strathnairn Arts Association Director James Holland said it was “pretty significant” that the open day was returning in 2023 for the first time in three years.

“COVID prevented the first two, and then last year we were actually flooded out,” he said.

“Hopefully this year things go to plan and we won’t get flooded!”

The doors will open at 10 am on 22 October (Sunday).

The 19 artists with studios at Strathnairn Homestead will open them to visitors.

“The public can visit the artists, see what they do and have a talk with them,” Mr Holland said.

The public can visit pottery demonstrations, check out two art exhibitions, and try their hand at a bronze casting workshop.

He said he was excited to see work from a ceramics group at Strathnairn Arts Association.

“There will be a display of the work that comes out of the kiln,” he said.

“They’re starting to fire the items on Friday [(13 October)] and into this weekend, before they let it cool down for a week.

“We’ll be using that to promote an exhibition we have of their work in one of our galleries that will be coming up in November.”

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Mr Holland said the association’s open day was a chance for the public to peek at what the artists had been up to.

“Really, the main focus for the open day is to just get people out here – not many people know where we are,” he said.

“It’s a pretty unique site with lots of cool stuff on it.

“We’re hoping people come along and enjoy hanging out with us.”

But there will be more than art on the agenda – the open day will also feature a car boot sale, live entertainment from Black Mountain String Band, sessions from a children’s performer, games and other activities, including face painting.

Mr Holland said there would be many and varied food options to keep everyone fed as they toured the grounds and got involved in the activities.

“As part of a fete atmosphere, there will be face painting, a cake stall and a stall where people can buy a bowl with some homemade soup,” he said.

“Rotary will be providing a sausage sizzle, there will also be a kids’ cafe – with fairy floss, popcorn, that sort of thing – and support from Capital Brewing and Intrepidus Wines.”

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Mr Holland said he and his team had been hard at work putting the final pieces into place.

“We are primarily run by volunteers, but they’ve been working with the staff,” he said.

“It has been tricky at times, getting everything together, but we’re finishing things.”

He said the open day was a chance to bring the artistic community – and the wider public – together.

“I think so many people who are part of the Strathnairn community – including the members and the volunteers here – want to bring back a sense of community,” he said.

“Over the last couple of years, we haven’t been able to get together like this, so we’ve lost it a little.”

Strathnairn Arts Association is located at 90 Stockdill Drive in Holt.

The open day will be from 10 am on 22 October, with free entry (though some of the activities and items available for purchase will have a cost).

Original Article published by Claire Sams on Riotact.

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