by bacblogarts

A woman drawing on a whiteboard
Image: Marisa Mu by Maysie Lecciones

Autumn School Holidays

11 April to 22 April 2023
The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre

These Autumn School Holidays, Blacktown Arts has a range of free drop-in workshops and programs for kids, young people and families!

Drop in to the Kids Maker Space on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and follow along with 2022/23 Blacktown City Art Prize finalist Marisa Mu in a digital workshop on how to draw and paint your own funky figures.

On Fridays, bring the whole family to Elders in Residence | Art and Yarn, and hear stories, history and First Nations culture from local First Nations Elders.

Then, on Saturdays, budding young actors and performers can join the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) as they return to Blacktown with two dynamic Introduction to Acting masterclasses.

See full Autumn line up here.

Kids Maker Space | Funky Figures with Marisa Mu

Drop in to the Kids Maker Space and try our free digital activity, Funky Figures with Marisa Mu.

Grab a seat and follow along as Marisa shows you how to draw and paint cute and colourful faces and bodies in a simple and fun video tutorial.

All you need is your enthusiasm!

All ages welcome
Materials provided.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays
11 to 13 April, 15 April, 18 to 20 April and 22 April
10 am to 4 pm

A woman in a colourful top and hat standing in front of hundred of small drawings of womanImage: Marisa Mu by Maysie Lecciones

Elders in Residence | Art and Yarn

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

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

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

All ages welcome
Materials, damper and beverages provided.

See more about Elders in Residence here.

Fridays, 14 and 21 April
10.30 am to 12.30 pm
*Please note that sometimes our Elders have other commitments and, as such, who is present may change.

An elderly man beading with red, yellow, and black beads
Image: Uncle Wes by Eliya Cohen, Mosca Media Australia

Introduction to Acting with NIDA

National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) returns to Blacktown with fresh Introduction to Acting masterclasses for local young people!

Experiment with improvisation, performance and character development, receive practical advice on how to further your creativity and make connections with like-minded young people in these fun and practical workshops.

Saturday 15 April
10 am to 4 pm

Grades 9 to 12

Take your first step to explore acting through improvisation, character development and script analysis.

Saturday 22 April
10 am to 4 pm

Ages 18 to 22 years

Discover the fundamental skills of acting by exploring improvisation, character development and understanding the role spontaneity plays in performance.

An amber lit stage with two people sitting down and one person standing with his hand facing the sky
Image: courtesy of National Institution of Dramatic Art (NIDA)

Artist Bios

Marisa Mu is a Blacktown-born, East Timorese Chinese artist based in Melbourne who works across the breadths of painting, murals, sculpture and textiles. She is an alumna of College of Fine Arts, Sydney, graduating with a Bachelor of Design in 2014 and was awarded the Emerging Artist of The Year in 2019 by FortyFive Downstairs. Marisa’s purpose is to spark happiness and positive change within people through her art.

As a queer woman of colour, Marisa’s mission statement is to explore messages of pride, self-love and liberation whilst spotlighting the importance of visibility for marginalized communities whilst championing intersectional feminism and queer expression. Painting has become a form of therapy for her over the years and celebrating cultural diversity, womanhood and the LGBTQIA+ community is an embodiment of Marisa, both personally and professionally.

Image: Marisa Mu by Maysie Lecciones

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 mother.

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.

National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) 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: supplied by National Institute of Dramatic Art (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.
  • For groups or school bookings of five or more people, please contact Beth Sorensen, Marketing and Public Programs Officer at beth.sorensen@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.