Hunter Writers Centre – Lighthouse Arts

The arts and culture economy has been hard hit by lockdowns and is struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic. But due to a unique partnership between the Hunter Writers Centre, a Hunter based not-for-profit organisation, local and state government, an exciting recovery opportunity for creative artists has been launched.

City of Newcastle was quick to respond to the pandemic with funding support through the City Taskforce’s Industry Response Grants. Hunter Writers Centre, the region’s peak literary hub, proposed an innovative multi-arts initiative to support COVID-19 recovery and was granted $135,000.

Supported by Port Authority NSW and City of Newcastle, this ambitious and unique venture will activate the Lighthouse Cottages on Nobbys-Whibayganba headland, placing Newcastle firmly ‘on the map’ for arts and culture.

During weekdays the Cottages can be used as studio spaces by writers, painters, ceramicists, print makers, musicians, fibre and digital artists and any other creative whose practice does not fall under a distinct category. On weekends the cottages will throw their doors open to the public, offering a gallery trading store and exhibitions that showcase and celebrate the many layers of history associated with the headland, in particular Aboriginal peoples’ connection to the location and surrounding areas.

Aboriginal artist Saretta Fielding has been engaged by the Hunter Writers Centre to furnish one of the cottages to showcase Indigenous art, stories and yarns. Other presentations will display colonial, geological and maritime history.

Known as Lighthouse Arts, the initiative is an opportunity for Novocastrian writers, artists and musicians to work uninterrupted at an inspiring location and showcase their work to tourists and locals who visit the site each weekend. After the first six months, Lighthouse Arts will invite creatives from across the Hunter and New South Wales to the iconic location.

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