Football, cricket, netball, soccer and tennis have long been pillars that many rural communities like Shepparton revolve around, and the arts is seen by some as a separate, often elite activity, but the Shepparton Festival is working to identify ways to bring the two worlds together.
“We know people like sport, and there are many successful sports programs. There is no reason why the arts can’t be part of that. I’d like to see sport brought into the arts world, and vice-versa,” Shepparton Festival Director Ms Kristen Retallick said.
“I think that’s a much more sustainable way to look at how the arts can co-exist alongside sport rather than just saying, ‘This is for us and that’s for them’.
Founded in 1996, the Shepparton Festival has become a significant fixture on the regional arts calendar, engaging hundreds of artists in dozens of events across the Goulburn Valley each March.
The Fairley Foundation has been a key sponsor and supporter of the Festival.
“The Fairley Foundation has supported the Festival for a long time and clearly value the benefits our programs bring to this region’s communities.”
“The Arts is not always the first thing people advocate for, so having organisations like the Fairley Foundation to do that for us is really important.”
The Festival has improved the liveability of Shepparton, with high quality, thought-provoking installations popping up at venues across the region, Ms Retallick said.
“Art has a value to each generation – it brings people together, gives people the opportunity to consider different ideas and new perspectives and gives people new conversational topics that they may not have explored before.
“It’s a Festival for Shepparton, by Shepparton, enabling people from across the region to access new ideas.”