by bacblogarts

Image: Family Day 2022, by Liza Moscatelli

Summer Making

Various dates
The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre

Term 1 kicks off with our Summer Making program!

Led by western Sydney’s best artists and creatives, there’s something for everyone this Summer, with a range of workshops and experiences for children, young people, adults and families across weaving, drawing, illustration, craft and more.

Summer Making is all about getting together with your friends and family to create together and try something new.

Have a yarn and connect with Country at Elders in Residence, celebrate the work of senior artist and Elder Danny Eastwood and weave with Tarni Eastwood, capture the streets of our city with 2022/23 Blacktown City Art Prize winner Peter Rush, explore your creative side at Open Studio with Patrice Wills, get your markers ready to illustrate with Sam Absurd, and finally, round up the whole family and come along to our next Family Day!

It’s time to get creative this Summer!
Check out how you can get involved below.

Elders in Residence

Grab a cuppa and have a yarn with local First Nations Elders on Friday mornings at Elders in Residence.

Acknowledging our place on Darug land, connect with stories of the deep past and First Nations culture. 

Damper and beverages provided.

Please note that sometimes our Elders have other commitments and, as such, who is present each week may change. You are welcome to contact us directly on 9839 6558 to confirm who will be in attendance.

All ages welcome.

Fridays, 3 February to 31 March
10.30 am to 12.30 pm

Image: Uncle Wes Book Launch 2022, by Hypereeel Brand

Danny Eastwood Workshops

Join Danny Eastwood for a series of workshops as part of his exhibition I Talk Through My Art and My Art Talks Through Me.

Presented as part of Elders in Residence, each week Danny will focus on a different medium to explore themes in the exhibition and in his life and career as an artist and cartoonist.

Try your hand at something new, learn some skills, and have a yarn with Danny, and his son, Jamie Eastwood, as they share intergenerational knowledge about their culture and art practices.

Bring your family and friends along to weave with Ngiyampaa and Guringai artist, Tarni Eastwood, at this one-off workshop presented as part of her grandfather Danny Eastwood’s exhibition, I Talk Through My Art and My Art Talks Through Me.

Free – places are limited and registrations are essential.

Suitable for all ages, no experience required.

All materials provided. Please bring an apron or suitable clothing for the painting and sculpture workshops.

Friday 10 March, 10.30 am to 12.30 pm

Drawing and cartoons
Friday 17 March, 10.30 am to 12.30 pm

Jewellery making
Friday 24 March, 10.30 am to 12.30 pm

Mould making and plaster casting for sculpture
Friday 31 March, 10.30 am to 12.30 pm

Friday 14 April, 10.30 am to 12.30 pm

Image: Danny Eastwood 2022, by Liza Moscatelli

Image: Home West Festival Day 2022, by Liza Moscatelli

Weaving with Tarni Eastwood

Bring your family and friends along to weave with Ngiyampaa and Guringai artist Tarni Eastwood at this one-off workshop presented as part of her grandfather Danny Eastwood’s exhibition, I Talk Through My Art and My Art Talks Through Me.

Join Tarni as she shares her passion and knowledge of traditional and contemporary Aboriginal weaving techniques to guide you through weaving with hand-dyed raffia from Nula Weaving.

All experience levels welcome. Materials provided.

All ages

Saturday 18 March
10.30 am to 1.30 pm

Image: Open Studio 2022, courtesy Blacktown Arts

Open Studio

Expand your art practice at Open Studio!

Artist and mentor Patrice Wills has been leading up and coming artists and creatives across Blacktown and western Sydney for the last few years and she’s back for another season.

Work on new and existing projects as you build on your skills and develop your personal artistic style.

Can’t make it on Wednesdays, or just can’t get enough? One-off Saturdays are back as Patrice is joined by Saqlain Binte Saleh for a weekend in the studio.

All experience levels welcome. Basic materials provided, canvas available for purchase.

Ages 16+

Wednesdays, 1 February to 29 March
Saturday 11 March
10.30 am to 1.00 pm

Summer Sketching with Peter Rush

Capture the streets of our city at this one-off urban sketching workshop, Summer Sketching with Peter Rush.

Led by 2022/23 Blacktown City Art Prize winner Peter Rush, explore Blacktown and learn new techniques for bringing the urban landscape to life on your canvas. Peter will guide you on a tour of hidden lanes and arcades around Main St, Blacktown.

Spend time at each location to observe and draw local street scenes, buildings, green spaces and skylines. Experiment with drawing on found materials like cereal boxes, which Peter uses in his own practice.

Don’t forget to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a hat and water bottle along. Materials provided.

All experience levels welcome.

Ages 16+

Saturday 25 February
10.30 am to 1.00 pm

Image: Peter Rush, by Joshua Morris

Illustration with Sam Absurd

Kids, we haven’t forgotten about you! Get your markers ready for Illustration with Sam Absurd.

Led by talented graphics and street artist Sam Absurd, discover techniques and skills to create a character to use in your next artwork or comic.

Sam will help you find your style and bring your imagination to life with bold drawing and illustration techniques. Learn how to shape faces, draw features and add your own personal touch.

Take home your creations to inspire you for future endeavours.

All experience levels welcome. Materials provided.

Ages 6 to 12

Saturday 25 March
10.30 am to noon

Image: Family Day 2022, by Liza Moscatelli

Image: Family Day 2022, by Liza Moscatelli

Family Day

Have fun at our next Family Day!

Pop in to The Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre to get creative, try something new, and have fun together as a family.

Make your favourite animals into a silly sculpture with paper plates, make your mark on a collaborative artwork, decorate and design a t-shirt for yourself or a loved one and go wild with chalk drawing.

Presented with artists Emmanuel Asante, Marietta Zafirakos and Elaine Butler.

No experience required.

All ages welcome

Saturday 1 April
10.30 am to 12.30 pm


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, Fire Bucket at Sydney Festival (2016), Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival in Melbourne (2017), Way Out West Children’s Festival at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (2017) and recently published Through Old Eyes (2022) 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 Marne by Moses Awitan, Hypereel Brand

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 Simms, courtesy of Blacktown Arts

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 Eastwood by Liza Moscatelli

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 Blacktown Arts 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

Saqlain Binte Saleh is a local artist who has been facilitating workshops with Blacktown Arts and in the community for several years. Saqlain studied design at TAFE and now develops her own artistic practice which is vibrant and expressive using charcoals, paints and watercolour. Saqlain continues to experiment and learn new skills and brings these experiences to her teaching.

Image: Saqlain Binte Saleh, courtesy of the artist

With an interest in the urban environment, Sydney-based artist Peter Rush sketches familiar places and everyday life in an insightful way. An architect by trade, Rush works with materials that range from pen and paper to used cereal boxes to capture the mood, expression and texture of city streets.

Image: Peter Rush. Photography: Joshua Morris

Born and raised in the western suburbs of Sydney, Sam Absurd has worked within the field of aerosol art for over 10 years and during this period, through the help of local graffiti and street artists, has sharpened his skills in developing his own original style.

Throughout his progression as an artist, Sam has travelled and produced work for a diverse range of clients; from private commissions for households and offices to large-scale murals for government councils and universities spanning across Australia. Additionally, Sam has experience as a youth worker, passing on his knowledge of graffiti and street art techniques to the younger generations through the running of workshops and group projects for the local communities.

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics, Sam continues to study as well as use his inspirations from nature to create works that focus on the juxtaposition of reality through the implementation of both an illustrative and surrealist style.

Image: Sam Absurd, courtesy of the artist

Tarni Eastwood is a Ngiyampaa and Guringai artist and curator based in western Sydney. She has a multidisciplinary arts practice working in photography, video, painting, weaving, sculpture and installation. Tarni emphasises the importance of weaving groups through its contribution to revitalise the culture whilst providing a safe space to pass down creative knowledge.

Image: Tarni Eastwood, courtesy of Wirrim Studio

Emmanuel Asante is a Sydney-based Visual Artist, Workshop Facilitator and Guest Speaker. His art practice critically examines and reflects his identity as a young Ghanaian migrant to Australia, incorporating traditional African metaphors and cultural symbols to evoke visual-aesthetic experiences and modes of storytelling.

His artworks employ diverse media including pen, pencil, watercolour, acrylic and African fabric. These materials, particularly the use of fabric, plays on the signifiers of African culture and fashion, which circles back to the theme of identity in his work.

Image: Emmanuel Asante, courtesy of the artist

Marietta Zafirakos is a Sydney-based creative producer and facilitator. She graduated from Sydney College of the Arts, majoring in print media, before completing a Masters in Arts Administration. Her experience and interest lies in the process of art making within a gallery space. She most enjoys developing and facilitating creative workshops for children and families.

Image: Marietta Zafirakos, courtesy of the artist

Elaine Butler is an Irish/Australian visual artist and mobile arts educator located in both the Blacktown/Hills Area of Western Sydney and in Wallerawang, Regional NSW. With 28 years’ experience in creative education, she offers a variety of art educational programs, classes, art kits and incursions designed to be unique, therapeutic, and inspirational learning experiences for everyone young or old. She is also a Mural Artist, qualified in Art Therapy, and a children’s book author & illustrator.

Image: Elaine Butler, courtesy of the artist

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.
  • Our nearest café is the Young Lions coffee cart, located 200m directly across the road from the Arts Centre on Flushcombe Rd with opening hours 7.15 am – 4.00 pm, Monday – Friday.
  • 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