Event Review: GBMCAN (The Network) Gathering at Wild Valley Art Park

The recent gathering at Wild Valley Art Park, hosted by Selena Seifert for the Greater Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network (The Network) was a resounding success enjoyed by all. Held on a sunny Sunday afternoon, October 22, 2023, the event brought together members, family, and friends of the Network for a day filled with camaraderie, creative discussions, and an abundance of positive energy.

Wild Valley Art Park is nestled in a valley off a road that leads down from 321 Blaxland Road in Wentworth Falls. To find the Park look out for the sign, just past the water tower.

Surrounded by the wild beauty of the Blue Mountainsm which inspires us all, the park is home to an art gallery, workshop rooms, and individual studios where several artists undertake their work. Members of The Network were encouraged to bring a plate of food to share, and the tantalizing aroma of various homemade dishes wafting through the air set the tone for an enjoyable and communal experience and lively discussion.

One of the highlights of the event was the opportunity for the the Network’s management team to meet face-to-face, breaking free from the confines of virtual meetings on Zoom. Recently back from time spent in Italy, Selena Seifert, the Director of Wild Valley Art Park, and a recent addition to the  management team, added a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to the team, sharing her vision for future innovative intercultural events to be held at the park in early 2024. This idea was met with resounding enthusiasm.

Throughout the day, the atmosphere was abuzz with lively conversations and the sharing of ideas. New friends were made, and the sense of community within The Network grew stronger. The gathering served as a platform for the exchange of creative insights and suggestions, which will undoubtedly pave the way for exciting new projects and initiatives in the coming year.

As the event unfolded, it was evident that The Network community had rekindled its collective spirit and passion for the arts. The day was not only about building connections but also about rekindling a sense of purpose and reinvigorating the organization for the year 2024. The energy displayed by the attendees was infectious and bodes well for ‘s upcoming endeavors. In the group photo to the right, gathered around Selena’s gorgeous mosaic sculpture of a seated woman: Fromt row L-R is Kate Reid and Virginia Franckenm, with Melissa Chambers standing. Back row L-R is Ngaire Howard, Fran Dyson, Jo Kot, Sharon Howard, Selena Seifert and Barbara Lepani, and in the very back row, Sonia Cox and John Champman.  Ross Howard, Brad Diedrich and Baiba Ford were off talking and taking the shot!

This gathering of members from both the Blue Mountains and the Lithgow (Seven Valleys) marks a new beginning for The Network as we gathered at the Wild Valley Art Park against the background of our shared cost-of-living crises, which particularly impacts the arts, the arrival of summer warmth (but with it fires), and continujing international conflict engulfing Ukraine and now the Middle East. We are so blessed to live in such as special place, surrounded by the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. 

We are waiting with baited breath to hear about whether our submissions for grants to undertake major multi-arts projects in 2024: Dreaming the Seven Valleys, and Dreaming the Blue Mountains is successful. These projects will each include a singer-songwriter showcase, an anthology project of short stories, poetry and illustrations, live performances and Provocations: A Festival of Big Dreams – the role of the arts in dreaming our future.

Meanwhile The Network’s Lithgow Lowdown music event takes place on 25 November at the Lithgow Club, and Gang Gang Galley hosts the Xmas ‘Gift in a Box’ exhibition in early December, and The Network will run a podcasting workshop at the Lithgow Transformation Hub from 16 January 2024.