by bacblogarts

A woman smiling and looking at the Camera
Image: Kirthana Selvaraj, courtesy of the artist

Autumn Making

Various dates
The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre

Get involved in a range of speciality workshops and engaging drop-in activities as part of Autumn Making!

Led by some Blacktown favourites plus some fresh new faces, Autumn Making encourages you to dig deep into your interests, ethics and creative practice to discover something new and spend more time doing the things you love.

Keep the conversation flowing with local First Nations Elders at Elders in Residence on Friday mornings, and expand your creative side on Wednesdays at Open Studio with artist and mentor Patrice Wills and 2022/23 Blacktown City Art Prize finalist Skye Andrew.

Join fellow 2022/23 Blacktown City Art Prize finalist Kirthana Selvaraj to capture the essence of who you are in a unique self-portrait, and join Magnify artist Shannon Smith to dive deep into Digital Drawing for young people.

Grab a spare tote bag or t-shirt and spend a morning making your mark for women in Iran with Woman Life Freedom.

Finally, bring the whole family along to the Blacktown City Festival Streets Alive Day, where local photographer Darren Bell will be snapping Family Portraits alongside his current exhibition, Darren Bell Shoots from the Hip.

See full Autumn line up here.

Open Studio

Expand your creative side at Open Studio!

Join artist and mentor Patrice Wills and 2022/23 Blacktown City Art Prize finalist Skye Andrew to build your skills and develop your personal artistic style in a fun, approachable and supportive environment. Bring along an existing project or start something new alongside practising artists of all levels.

Expand your creative knowledge and join the Open Studio community!

All experience levels are welcome.

Ages 16+
Basic materials provided, canvas available for purchase.

See more about Open Studio here.

Wednesdays, 26 April to 31 May 2023
10.30 am to 1.00 pm

Two women look at an iPad together
Image: Open Studio 2022, courtesy Blacktown Arts  

Woman Life Freedom

Try your hand at calligraphy, create your own poster or reinvent a t-shirt or tote bag at Woman Life Freedom, a morning of drop-in activities with Blacktown Arts staff member, Blacktown community member, and proud Iranian woman, Monir Rowshan.

Monir will guide you through the art of Persian calligraphy, inspired by poetry and mastered by Iranian artists for centuries. Plus, create your very own protest poster and add the Women Life Freedom slogan to your favourite t-shirt.

Plus, catch screenings of films by Iranian filmmakers as part of the Women Media Arts and Film Festival.

Bring along a t-shirt or tote bag for screen printing.
All additional materials provided.

Gold coin donation, with all proceeds going to a not-for-profit that supports women in Iran.

Saturday 6 May
10.30 am to 1.30 pm

A woman standing in front of a calligraphy artwork
Image: Monir Rowshan with her artwork Anguish of Love, supplied by the artist

Portraits with Kirthana Selvaraj

Beginners and seasoned artists alike, join 2022/23 Blacktown City Art Prize finalist Kirthana Selvaraj to paint a self-portrait that captures the true essence of who you are.

Experiment with colour, texture, brushwork, perspective and lighting to express your inner self on canvas.

Not comfortable with painting a self-portrait but still want to participate? Bring along a photo of a loved one to work with instead.

Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty or bring along an apron or smock.

Ages 16+
Materials provided.

Saturday 13 May
10.30 am to 1.00 pm

A woman with brown hair resting her head on her hand staring into the camera with a gold curtain behind her
Image: Kirthana Selvaraj, supplied by the artist 

Digital Drawing with Shannon Smith

Tech savvy teens and budding illustrators, join Gomeroi artist Shannon Smith to discover the world of digital drawing in this exciting introductory workshop.

Explore key techniques of digital drawing. Experiment with manipulation and layering using images of artworks and learn drawing and illustration skills that can be applied to future projects and artmaking.

Participants will require the below equipment and software to participate:

If you do not own this equipment but would still like to participate, please email artscentre@blacktown.nsw.gov.au to enquire about alternative options.

Ages 12 to 16 years

This workshop has been cancelled, keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming video workshop with Shannon.
Sign up to our mailing list to stay updated.

A digital art image of an animal looking out from a cliff into the dark starry night
Image: Digital artwork by Shannon Smith

Family Photos with Darren Bell

Say cheese! Bring the whole family along to The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre and have a special family portrait taken by Blacktown photographer Darren Bell.

Darren has been photographing the Blacktown community for many years, and is known for his powerful portraits of western Sydney Elders, knowledge holders, the LGBTQIA community and his friends.

Be part of this growing community archive! And be sure to check out Darren’s exhibition Darren Bell Shoots from the Hip, presented alongside Mervyn Bishop: celebrating one of Australia’s most prolific photographers.

All welcome
Bookings essential
Ticket price includes a digital package of images from your shoot.

Saturday 27 May
11 am to 3 pm

Image: Erin Wilkins and Corey Barker by Darren Bell

Artist Bios

Patrice Wills has an extensive professional background working and training in visual arts, education, and health, traversing work in public arts programming. Patrice brings this life experience to her artistic practice which reflects on and explores the human condition and spirit. Patrice is an award-winning artist and producer of the Open Studio program. Patrice’s work is exhibited regularly, and frequently selected as a finalist in art awards and accrued in private and public collections.

Image: Patrice Wills, courtesy of the artist

Skye Andrew completed a Diploma of Fine Art at the National Art School, majoring in photography and painting, and has exhibited in solo and group shows throughout Australia. She has a passion for the outdoors and loves creating art experiments alongside her primary school aged son.

Image: Skye Andrew, courtesy of the artist

Kirthana Selvaraj is a Queer, South Asian Artist, working on the unceded Gadigal Land of the Eora Nation (Sydney, Australia). Drawing on both individual and collective experiences within a Neo-colonial feminist discourse, her practice is centred on Race, intersections of seen and unseen, violence and passivity, and gender and sexuality.

Image: Kirthana Selvaraj by Grant Gribble

Shannon Smith is a Gomeroi man, an Indigenous hip-hop artist and digital illustrator who has been active in the greater Sydney community for over ten years. As a performer, he has been involved in events and festivals including ChangeFest, SpeakUP Urban Poetry, and Say No to Ice Day, Mount Druitt. As a workshop director, his clients include Westfield, The Song Room, City of Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Noffs Foundation, and Blacktown City Council. He has performanced at various venues in the Sydney music scene, including Venue 505, Foundry 616 and Qudos Bank Arena.

Image: Shannon Smith, courtesy of the artist

Darren Bell is a First Nations artist and western Sydney resident who held his first exhibition in 2010 with Blacktown Arts. The following year he was featured in a Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative exhibition. He was included in Cold Eels and Distant Thoughts in Paddington and had his first solo exhibition at DNA Gallery in Chippendale in 2013. Darren’s artworks are held in state and private collections, and he was a finalist in the Parliament of NSW Aboriginal Art Prize every year from 2012 to 2015.

Image: Darren Bell by Joshua Morris

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.