Art with Heart: ArtsNational Noosa

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Looking for an escape, a mind expansion or some uplifting art vibes over a friendly wine? ArtsNational Noosa has got you covered, writes Bec Marshall.

“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home” – dance icon Twyla Tharp said it and locals are being gifted unique opportunities to experience exactly that, thanks to ArtsNational Noosa.

Driven by a purpose to ‘connect, enrich and inspire’ and a firm belief in the power of art to transform and enhance lives, ArtsNational Noosa is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit society that provides regular lectures on a dazzling array of art topics as well as philanthropic support for young artists.

The local group, which celebrates its 13th year in 2024, is part of a wider network of 36 societies with 5500 members across Australia. Formerly known as ADFAS, short for Australian Decorative & Fine Arts Societies, the organisation has this year transitioned to the new name of ArtsNational with an exciting program of topics to be discovered and explored.

ArtsNational Noosa Chair Gail Thoms said the group’s monthly events were an excellent chance to explore the arts in a friendly and welcoming environment.

Each session is presented by nationally and internationally-renowned speakers who are recognised experts in their fields of interest – which are sometimes from left field – but always fascinating.

This year’s program truly has something for everyone. Topics cover a broad spectrum including a look at symmetry and patterns in Islamic art and design through exploring the 700-year-old Alhambra Palace in Granada; the history of tea drinking in the west; the rise and role of modern sculpture parks; meeting Caravaggio: The Bad Boy of Baroque; understanding the history of exotic colours and poisonous pigments in ancient art; exploring the healing power of plants; and the ancient portrayal of Barbarians; as well as exploring the New World images of Georgia O’Keeffe inspired by the canyons of America’s Southwest.

Each topic is presented by a professional guest speaker who is often part of a national or global circuit with plenty of opportunities for questions, interactions and forging friendships over refreshments after the presentation.

The “enriching” beauty of ArtsNational Noosa is that members and guests can not only enjoy fascinating presentations and forge new friendships but there is also the opportunity to join in for special events such as bus trips to Brisbane to take in the latest exhibitions at GOMA or exploring hinterland art trails with plenty of time for lunch and shopping.

Membership also helps young artists in the region advance closer to realising their dreams with fees, part of the raffle proceeds and particularly member donations contributing to the Young Arts Program which has helped local rising stars reach the national or global stage.

Past recipients include Peregian Springs Dance Centre students Yamina Yehoshua (15) who was offered a place at the Australian Ballet School; Amy Westcott (15), who was invited to train with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet; and Jasmine Bowker (12) who earnt a high distinction in her Royal Academy
of Dance results.

Yamina has been sponsored by ArtsNational Noosa for a number of years and, according to Chair Gail Thoms, she is one to watch and is expected to shine bright.

Another Peregian Springs Dance Centre graduate sponsored by ArtsNational Noosa is Alfie Shacklock who has studied dance in New York and London, performed at Covent Garden and joined the Birmingham Royal Ballet last year.

ArtsNational Noosa recently sponsored the 40 Under 40 Exhibition and Art Prize at the Butter Factory Arts Centre, Cooroy; and contributes to the Patricia Roberston Fund which supports conservators working in the field of Conservation of Cultural Material.

ArtsNational presents a world of yesteryear art and culture to celebrate and explore; new friends to be made and future stars to support. Be part of it!

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