Arts ‘key’ for healthy com­mu­nity

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAW­SON

Hor­sham mayor Pam Clarke has used an ex­am­ple set by Hor­sham-born the­atre star Alex Rathge­ber to en­cour­age Hor­sham fam­i­lies to keep the door open for chil­dren to pur­sue artis­tic ca­reers or pas­times.

Cr Clarke said Rathge­ber’s 14-year ca­reer as a the­atri­cal per­former, which has in­cluded him play­ing a key role in na­tional tour­ing pro­duc­tion of The Wiz­ard of Oz, was a prime ex­am­ple of how some­one from Hor­sham could make it ‘to the big stage’.

She said it was im­por­tant that peo­ple grow­ing up in Hor­sham and other Wim­mera com­mu­ni­ties felt con­fi­dent they could in­clude the Arts in ef­forts to broaden their hori­zons.

“The Arts are such an im­por­tant part of so­ci­ety. All healthy and pro­gres­sive com­mu­ni­ties have vi­brant and cre­ative artis­tic or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als, whether it is in dis­ci­plines such as mu­sic, dance, per­for­mance or the var­i­ous plat­forms for visual, in­ter­ac­tive fine art. Art helps us all grow as peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties,” she said.

Cr Clarke said Rathge­ber’s suc­cess added to the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of Hor­sham sup­port­ing art-based ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects as well as reg­u­lar events and pro­grams.

“In fol­low­ing the ca­reer of Alex and oth­ers from across the Wim­mera who are pur­su­ing their dreams in the tough art and en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try – be on the stage or be­hind the scenes – it tells us that we prob­a­bly have a richer and more di­verse cul­ture than we re­al­ize,” she said.

“It is on a grow­ing un­der­stand­ing of this that we have pro­moted and pur­sued projects, such as the re­de­vel­op­ment of Hor­sham Town Hall, and con­tin­ued to do so.

“We’ve recog­nised it for many years in sport but we can of­ten take for granted the other ta­lent we’re fos­ter­ing – ta­lent that is bub­bling away in our own back­yards.

“We’re not just talk­ing about our po­ten­tial to pro­duce in­ter­na­tional stars, but more about pro­mot­ing our com­mu­nity’s col­lec­tive abil­ity to ex­plore and de­velop our abil­ity to be cre­ative.”

Cr Clarke said a sig­nif­i­cant as­pect of recog­nis­ing the im­por­tance of the Arts in a re­gional com­mu­nity was un­der­stand­ing that it was cul­tur­ally en­rich­ing.

“It fun­da­men­tally makes our part of the world some­where that is at­trac­tive to live and pros­per,” she said. “And it is not only about bricks and mor­tar – it is also about un­veil­ing abil­i­ties and ta­lent and cel­e­brat­ing the passion that peo­ple have in pur­su­ing ev­ery­thing from singing, danc­ing and per­form­ing to cre­at­ing art works.

“It sim­ply makes Hor­sham a bet­ter place to live and some­thing I have always been pas­sion­ate about. We only have to open our eyes and look in our own fam­ily and friends cir­cles to iden­tify the nat­u­ral ta­lent we have in our com­mu­nity.

“It is always there. We all know of some­one who is ar­tis­ti­cally out­stand­ing, yet have taken that for granted. We need to not only recog­nise these tal­ents, but also help open the doors and give them more op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“I found the ta­lent on show at a cul­tural diver­sity day in Hor­sham sim­ply stag­ger­ing and if any­one wants fur­ther ex­am­ples of what ev­ery­day peo­ple can do, they can sim­ply go to one of Hor­sham Arts Coun­cil’s pro­duc­tions.”

• Alex Rathge­ber up­date, see page 10.

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