by Phoebe Repeti

Spring School Holidays
Image: Family Day 2022 by Liza Moscatelli, Mosca Media Australia

Spring School Holidays

26 September to 7 October 2023
The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre

These Spring School Holidays, everyone is invited to get creative and express yourself through workshops and drop in activities for kids, young people and families.

Follow along and draw Playful Pets through a video workshop with children’s book illustrator and artist, Matt Moriarty.

On Fridays, bring the family along for Elders in Residence | Art and Yarn to meet local Elders and engage with First Nations culture, stories and history.

Dreaming of being the next big movie star? Join NIDA for brand-new free Introduction to Acting for Screen workshops for young people.

See full Spring line up here.

Elders in Residence | Art and Yarn

Want to connect with First Nations culture?

Gather the whole family and come along to these special school holiday sessions of Elders in Residence.

Acknowledging our place on Darug land, Elders in Residence I Art and Yarn connects kids and adults alike with First Nations culture and knowledge in a fun and engaging community experience.

Hear stories and poetry, try your hand at a creative activity and learn a thing or two from local First Nations Elders, Uncle Wes Marne, Uncle Greg Simms, Uncle Danny Eastwood and Uncle John Farrington.

All ages welcome
Materials provided
Damper and beverages provided.

*Please note that sometimes our Elders have other commitments and, as such, who is present may change.

Fridays, 29 September and 6 October 
10.30 am to 12.30 pm

See more at Elders in Residence. 

Art and Yarn
Image: Elders in Residence 2023, by Eliya Cohen, Mosca Media Australia

Maker Space | Playful Pets with Matt Moriarty

Expand your illustration skills these Spring school holidays!

Draw playful pet portraits in a fun and simple video workshop with local artist and children’s book illustrator, Matt Moriarty.

Put pen to paper and learn to draw cute cartoon cats and dogs from the comfort of your own home or in our fully-stocked Maker Space.

Ages 5+
Materials provided at the Maker Space.

Tuesday to Saturday
26 September to 7 October
10 am to 4 pm
Watch online now

Prefer to meet the artist? Join Matt in the Maker Space to create together.
Make with the Artist session:
This has now ended.

Matt Moriarty
Image: artwork by Matt Moriarty

Introduction to Acting for Screen with NIDA

Lights, camera, action! National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) return to Blacktown these school holidays with new Acting for Screen workshops for local young people.

Take your first step with this practical, one day workshop for budding young actors. Discover your screen presence and experiment with introductory techniques as you get comfortable on camera.

Saturday 30 September
Grades 9 to 12
10.30 am to 4.00 pm
45-minute lunch break
Parents and carers, are invited for a Q+A session on at 3.30 pm

Saturday 7 October 
Ages 18 to 23
10.30 am to 4.00 pm
45-minute lunch break

Acting with NIDA
Image: courtesy of NIDA

Artist Bios

Uncle Wes Marne AM is a Bigambul man and community elder who has lived in Mount Druitt for the past 45 years. He is a storyteller, poet and custodian of his grandfather’s Creation and Dreamtime stories.

Uncle Wes is a published author, and has toured his work at Sydney Festival (2016), Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival (2017), Way Out West Children’s Festival at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (2017), and recently he published Through Old Eyes (2022), his first book of poetry for his 100th Birthday. In December 2022, he received an Honorary Fellowship from Western Sydney University for service as an educator and champion of Aboriginal culture; an advocate for vulnerable young people and a pillar of the greater western Sydney community.

Uncle Wes comes from a long line of storytellers and has been working with children, primary and high schools, universities, gaols, social housing and justice to share his love of culture and stories throughout all the community.

Image: Uncle Wes, Elders in Residence by Eliya Cohen, Mosca Media Australia.

Uncle Greg Simms is a respected Aboriginal Community Elder of Mount Druitt and the greater western Sydney region, with ties to the Gundungurra (water dragon people) of the Blue Mountains and the Gadigal (whale people) of the Dharug nation.

Uncle Greg is an activist for reconciliation, a traditional woodcarver, a storyteller and an Aboriginal cultural educator. He always engages young people and Elders in his processes, championing intergenerational knowledge sharing and understanding. In December 2021, Uncle Greg received an Honorary Fellowship from Western Sydney University in recognition of his role as a leading educator of Aboriginal culture, and for his contribution to Western Sydney University.

Image: Uncle Greg, Elders in Residence by Eliya Cohen, Mosca Media Australia.

Uncle Danny Eastwood is descended from the Ngemba group of Western New South Wales. His mother came from Brewarrina and he was born and grew up in the Eora area of the Gadigal Nation. For the past 43 years, he has been a proud member of the Darug area of Western Sydney.

As a painter and cartoonist, he has produced numerous works which tell the story of his people and Country, including his contributions to Koori Mail over the last 30 years and his public art which can be found all over Sydney.

In 1992, Uncle Danny won the NSW NAIDOC Award. He shared the National NAIDOC Aboriginal Artist of the Year Award, receiving 1st prize in the NSW Parliament Award and the NAIDOC Poster Award in 1993. Uncle Danny is responsible for building and making the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander War Memorial to honour Aboriginal service people at the Anzac Memorial, Hyde Park, Sydney.

Image: Uncle Danny, Elders in Residence by Eliya Cohen, Mosca Media Australia.

Uncle John Farrington was born in the town of Young, part of the Wiradjuri Nation, the people of the 3 rivers. He was taken to Sydney at the age of 9 along with his siblings and put into the custody of the NSW Government as a Ward of the State. He has lived and worked in Sydney since and connected with the people of the Dharug Nation as he struggled to find family, his roots, his identity and his connection to Country, which is now linked to the Gamilaraay People through his father.

Uncle John has been active in sharing his stories and experience through Dharug community meetings and gatherings. Through this space, he shares his remarkable life and his continual journey to find family and reconnect. He loves to share documents as well as photos that he has discovered on his quest for answers.

Uncle John loves to meet people, tell them his stories and share his Culture, while highlighting and encouraging the strength and survival spirit that may help others to overcome the past.

Image: Uncle John, Elders in Residence by Eliya Cohen, Mosca Media Australia.

Matt MoriartyMatt Moriarty is a digital illustrator and graphic designer who specialises in character design, comics, children’s book art and digital/graphic design.

Matt was a recipient of the 2020 Blacktown City Creative Arts Fund. With the grant he fully illustrated, authored, and published a children’s book; The Adventures of Larry Lizard. The book is based on characters and stories his father told him as a child.

Recently he co-created and illustrated a web comic series, Kitsune Fox. His favourite apps/programs to use are: Clip Studio Paint, Photoshop & InDesign and he draws using a display tablet. Matt also tutors kids and adults in illustration.

Image: Matt Moriarty, courtesy of the artist

NIdaNational Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) was founded in 1958 as Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art, NIDA is both Australia’s preeminent performing arts educator, and one of the most globally respected brands in its field.

NIDA’s unparalleled practice-based learning, connections to industry and culture of innovation have produced some of the world’s most influential and in-demand storytellers across stage, screen and beyond.

NIDA offers an unmatched range and depth of industry-relevant training across performing arts disciplines including: acting, costume, cultural leadership, design, directing, make-up, musical theatre, props, scenic construction, stage management, technical theatre, and writing.

Image: courtesy of NIDA

Please note:

  • All materials are provided except for art smocks and aprons, so please consider bringing your own or wearing clothes that can get dirty if you’re a messy art maker!
  • No food or drink is currently available for purchase at The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre. Feel free to bring your coffee or a snack while you are visiting The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre
  • Please note, Blacktown Arts does not facilitate private workshops for groups. If you would like to enquire about group bookings for Blacktown Arts programs, please contact us at artscentre@blacktown.nsw.gov.au
  • Click here to plan your visit to The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre.

Proudly funded by the NSW Government in association with Blacktown City Council and Blacktown Arts.