Sometimes it’s hard being creative. Staring at a blank page, or canvas – or whatever – and waiting for inspiration to strike usually causes nothing to appear but anxiety. Because of this I love the idea that there are artistic Muses to call upon, ready to bless you with their divine knowledge and inspire you with their vision.
The Muses are the nine daughters of the Ancient Greek God Zeus and the Titaness Mnemosyne and are considered to be the personification of all artistic knowledge, even the source of artistic inspiration itself. Sometimes portrayed as beautiful water nymphs, or other ethereal creatures, they stir writers, musicians, actors, dancers and artists to create their most exalted works, the ones described by creative folk as coming from ‘somewhere else, outside myself’ and not from their rational mind.
The relationship between the artist and the Muse is complex. Some artists curse her, some pray to her, while others deny her existence altogether citing their great works being ‘one per cent inspiration, 99 per cent perspiration’. For the true believers the Muses are often invoked at the beginning of a project, either out of reverence, superstition or simply in a desperate plea that everything goes well (and comes in on budget).
Will the Muses be out in action on Saturday when the Newcastle Community Arts Centre holds its Open Studios Day? The Centre is located in a former Catholic school which has been transformed into a vibrant West End artists’ hub. It supports artists to create and exhibit new work by providing unique spaces for them to work in, that is, the school’s old classrooms.
The Open Day is just what the name implies, the resident artists’ are opening their studios and inviting the public in to see them do their thing. Thirty artists will be making wildly varying work with the Open Day profiling: digital artists, textile artists, traditional oil painters, artists working on paper, fabric illustrators and ceramic artists.
The studios vary in size from large classrooms to tiny hidey holes. The Centre is encouraging visitors to go into the open studios, talk to the artists about their work and see what is inspiring them. If you love what they are doing there will be pieces for sale, or maybe you might like to commission a unique one-off artwork. Next door at the Centre’s artist-run gallery, the Newcastle Art Space, a new show is opening, the 2014 Spring Salon, which will be exhibiting even more work.
Down in the former school playground, now re-created as a colourful open space with plants and banners, hunger can be sated at the food stalls, an arts and craft market will have prints and jewelry for sale and live musicians will be providing a soundtrack to the day’s activities. Make time to stop and look around you just might see a visiting Muse (or two).
Open Studios Day is a free event on Saturday 6 September, 11.00am – 3.00pm, at the Newcastle Community Arts Centre, 246 Parry Street, Newcastle West/Hamilton East (Google maps can’t decide exactly where the boundary is). Phone: 4961 1696. www.ncac.org.au
Have you chosen the West End as your home or as the perfect place to run your business? Do you have a West End tale which deserves a wider audience? What inspires and infuriates you about the West End? If you have a story to tell I would love to talk to you! Here’s how to find me: firstname.lastname@example.org; 0413 250 155.