Welcome to the Barwon Heads Arts Council

  Through the management for the Barwon Heads Arts & Community Hub and participation in major events such as the Mountain to Mouth Arts Walk, The Bellarine Arts Trail and a yearly small-events program, the Council represents our local artists, visual, literary and performing.

The Barwon River in Victoria winds its way from the Otway Ranges behind the Great Ocean Road through Geelong and the wetlands on the Bellarine Peninsula to arrive at the ocean between the townships of Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove.  We recognise the significance and richness of this beautiful coastal area, its environment and cultural history and we acknowledge its First Nations people, the Wadawurrung.

Our History

In 2012, a community meeting was held to discuss whether the community saw the need for an arts organisation in Barwon Heads. This led to the establishment in 2013, of the Barwon Heads Arts Council (BHAC) as a not-for-profit incorporated organisation.

In 2013 our aim was to lobby government and Council for an Arts Hub in Barwon Heads for the benefit of the local community and the wider community across the Bellarine.

We believe an Arts Hub will support all local artists across all arts genres, including the visual arts, music, drama, theatre, dance, poetry and literature.

We quickly realised it would take a lot of hard work and time to achieve our aim of an arts hub, so we decided to put on events in parallel to the lobbying work we were doing. We eventually broadened our vision to also include the following two objectives:

  1. Promote the arts through workshops and events for the benefit of our local community;

  2. Build the capacity of our local artists through events, workshops and arts programs. We aim to develop deeper connections by building the capacity of our local artistic community.

Between 2013 and 2019 our small team of volunteers has worked tirelessly to engage with the community and to provide many fun and successful arts events. Our membership quickly grew to over 400 local members. We have also worked with City of Greater Geelong Arts and Culture Department and local government to progress our aim of an arts hub for Barwon Heads.

In the 2019 State election, our local member Lisa Neville MP committed $1m to the Barwon Heads community for the establishment of an Arts/Community Hub on the site of the old kindergarten in Clifford Parade, Barwon Heads. BHAC is a key stakeholder in this new project, which also includes the Barwon Heads Senior Citizens and the Barwon Heads Association. It is intended we will all work together to deliver this hub in 2021. Find out more about the progress of this project under the NEWS tab.

Auspice

BHAC offers an Auspice service for arts projects under the following conditions:

  1. All paperwork relating to the project is to be undertaken by the recipient
  2. 20% of the project budget to be paid to BHAC to offset administrative costs
  3. BHAC has right of refusal.

Requests for Auspicing should be directed to BHAC President at president@bhac.org.au in the first instance.

Our Committee

VICKI STRACHANPresident
Vicki lives in Barwon Heads and co-founded the Barwon Heads Arts Council in 2013 and was founding President. She has returned as President in 2021 and is looking forward to working with the community to establish the Barwon Heads Arts and Community Hub which opens in 2022.

Vicki has worked in stakeholder engagement and community development for many years, most recently as the Committee for Geelong working on the Leaders for Geelong program. She is currently a Project Manager at Gen U and previously co-ordinated a small business engagement diversity research project with Deakin University. Vicki has worked in a variety of sectors including the arts, banking, finance, health and hospitality. Vicki has 25 years of experience within community organisations with board experience in a regional health service, local government committees and arts organisations.

Vicki’s interest in community arts is linked to her strong interest in health and wellbeing, connecting communities and reducing social isolation.

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KAREN SHIRLEYVice President
Kaz joined the Arts Council when it was formed in 2013 and served as Treasurer for the first 3 years. Since then she has undertaken the Vice President and now President roles. Kaz is very keen to bring arts and culture opportunities to the community. She is particularly keen to develop opportunities for artists to connect with each other and the public. This was her motivation when creating the popular Bellarine Arts Trail (BAT) in 2016.

Kazs’ main artistic interest is abstract painting; however, she loves to push her own boundaries by learning new skills including printmaking, textiles, design and ceramics.

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FIONA DUNCAN
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CAROLINE WOODSBookings
Caroline has been in the treasury position at the Barwon Heads Arts Council for the last 4 years and has been instrumental in offering Performing Arts events to the local community, as an Arts Council Annual Event. On behalf of the Arts Council, Caroline has also been fortunate enough to assist in the fruition and completion of many wonderful arts auspice projects.
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DOROTHY JOHNSTONCommittee
I’m an award-winning novelist and short story writer who has lived in
Ocean Grove since 2009 and I’m keen to help aspiring and emerging
writers in my community. In 2018 and 2019 I ran writing workshops
through the BHAC and the Friends of the Barwon Heads Library and my
future plans include a writers’ mentorship program.
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NIKOLE RAMSAYCommittee
Nikole is an editorial & commercial photographer who photographs interiors, portraits, food and lifestyle images for books, magazines and advertising. Her work is regularly published in many of Australia’s favourite lifestyle magazines including Inside Out, Real Living, House & Garden and Australian Traveller and she has photographed 8 coffee table books for a variety of Australian publishers. She is passionate about photography, loves the ocean and has enjoyed living in Barwon Heads for the last 12 years.

Nikole is new to the Barwon Heads Arts Council and is excited to be involved with creative community projects and encouraging more connection with young people in Barwon Heads. She is passionate about bringing opportunities for community connection through workshops & events at the new hub.

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LIBBY DARCYSecretary
Libby has a long association with Barwon Heads and the Bellarine and has a keen interest in fostering community participation in the arts.

Libby has studied literature and music, is a trained facilitator and has a Post Graduate in marketing. She has been a board member of state and regional industry organisations. Libby began her marketing career in destination marketing and has worked in research, strategic planning and marketing communications consulting to not for profits, business, community and government organizations.

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LEANNE MCKENZIETreasurer
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SOPHIA LEGOECommittee
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ERENA CROWLEYCommittee
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Creativity is contagious, pass it on

Albert Einstein

Every artist was first an amateur

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.

John Lennon

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

Pablo Picasso

You don’t take a photograph, you make it

Ansell Adams

Imagination creates reality

Richard Wagner

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

Thomas Merton

I explained it when I danced it.

Margot Fonteyn

Once writing has become your major vice and greatest pleasure, only death can stop it.

Ernest Hemingway

Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do

Edgar Degas

Creativity is a drug I cannot live without

Cecil B. DeMille

If you can visualize it, if you can dream it, there’s some way to do it.

Walt Disney

Do or do not. There is no try.

Yoda

Don’t wait! Do it now!

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