Summer of Art in Port Macquarie

Port Macquarie’s creative precinct will be bursting with light, colour and movement in January. The Summer Arts Festival is a month-long event comprising of exhibitions, workshops and performances. We spoke to event organiser Leanne Prussing about what’s in store. 

Cb: The Summer Arts Festival sounds incredible! Who’s behind it and why is it happening?  

Leanne Prussing: This year many artists have had to cancel or postpone performances, exhibitions and workshops. They didn’t get much exposure as we missed ArtWalk. With all the tourists coming to town and everything that has been cancelled and the restrictions lifting, we thought let’s hit hard in January. The team is Vivianne Hazenveld, Sue English and me.

Cb: There’s so much on the program – let’s start with opening night.

LP: We’re opening at 6pm on Saturday January 1 with Shed Ex – an underground exhibition featuring six local artists. Think industrial chic in the MakerSpace Shed. Artists will be there making art and everything will be for sale. We’re saying buy art from living artists because the dead ones don’t need the money! From 8pm there will be a light sculpture parade around Albert Circuit. It will feature Claude Teyssier and Margrit Rickenbach’s large-scale creations. Parading with them will be top-notch circus artists up from Melbourne, aerialist Shauna Johnson and acrobat Kam McKinnon. 

Cb: It sounds fabulous! What can we expect in the weeks to follow?

LP: Sketchy Cabaret is happening on January 8. It’s life drawing meets cabaret. Circus artists Shaunah and Kam will be back performing death defying skills and then they’ll strike a pose and Vivianne and I will give life drawing instruction. You can participate or just enjoy the performers and the artists drawing them. Dinner by Port’s Sacred Pizza will be included in the $55 ticket price. Alcohol will be for sale seperately. I’ll be doing two paint and sip workshops every Friday in January. Participants will get step-by-step instruction as we paint a popular culture masterpiece like Monet’s Water Lilies or Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. I also include an art history talk. Vivianne will be offering classes in Expressive Art Through Music and Movement, Abstraction, the Power of Colour and more. Visitors can also enjoy my portrait exhibition at MakerSpace and Endangered Species Mural Exhibition in the Wilderness Activity Centre.    

Cb: What are your hopes for the Summer Arts Festival? 

LP: It will be something for tourists as well as locals. I think it will be a great kick-starter for the new year. Classes were very difficult for people to commit to in 2021. But with restrictions lifting I think we’re going to have a good run. The Summer Arts Festival will be absolutely full of joy! 

Find out more about Port Macquarie’s Summer Art’s Festival on Facebook. Get to know artist Leanne Prussing here