Have you ever wondered where violins, violas or cellos are made? Right here in Canberra, at Gorman Arts Centre in Braddon, as it turns out.
Internationally recognised string instrument maker Hugh Withycombe is one of 10 resident artists inviting the public inside the centre as part of Gorman’s two-day Open House program (Friday and Saturday, 22-23 September). He’s joined by a range of other artists and makers, including jewellers, a musician, visual and digital artists, poets and writers.
Gorman community events producer Kylie Walsh says the program is a rare chance for Canberrans to have a peek inside the inner workings of the four-decade-old arts institution.
“Unless you have an appointment, the studios are private for our artists,” she explains. “Coming along to this Open Day means you can come in, have a chat and see what’s inside.”
But Kylie says the open studios are just the tip of the iceberg, with several of Gorman’s other almost-50 resident artists and organisations holding workshops, exhibitions and performances.
Friday night’s after-work kick-back-styled House Party features spoken word performances, a studio tour with a contemporary jeweller, art installations and an after-dark makers’ market.
Arts Capital will also be exhibiting its Gorman Stories Project, which tells the tale of the arts centre’s 99-year history (hint: it has only been an arts centre for 42 of those 99 years).
Collector Wines, Mada Wines and Heaps Normal will be serving drinks, alongside authentic paella by Barceloneta, set to the backdrop of live music by Gorman DJ Genie Stuart.
“The Friday night is more for an older, 16-plus crowd,” Kylie explains. “It’s all being set under fairy lights and with the music, I think the atmosphere is going to be lovely.”
Saturday’s program has been designed to be more family-friendly, with a day full of activities for younger Canberrans and their adults (with donuts and coffee on standby).
For the little ones, there’s early childhood dance and Canberra Youth Theatre workshops, face painting and a two-hour parents-and-children dance jam with dance artist Debora Di Centa.
Saturday will also feature 10 open artist studios to explore, a ”vinyasa” yoga class and several dance film screenings, including footage of a classical dance form from South India, known as Bharatanatyam.
Curious Canberrans can also attend a ”walnut workshop” with multi-disciplinary artist Hangama Obaidullah, who will be sharing eco-friendly methods of making art from the humble walnut. Or join Yamile Tafur to hear about a project that weaves stories of people who have experienced migration with the government and non-government organisations involved in the process.
For those who miss Friday night’s festivities, there’ll be a second chance to check out the makers’ market, art installations and Gorman Stories Project.
Kylie says there’s something for the whole community over the two days, whether they’re creatives wanting to network or everyday Canberrans.
“Anyone’s welcome,” she says. “I’d love to encourage people to come along just to have a drink and meal with us.”
Open House is on Friday and Saturday, 22-23 September, at Gorman Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon. To find out more, visit Ainslie + Gorman Arts Centres’ website.