Castlemaine State Festival celebrates daring imagination, courageous ideas and communal spirit. Every two years, our Festival centred on Dja Dja Wurrung country brings together people and their passions through a program of events that are locally anchored yet resonant with global voices and issues. We reflect on the world from our unique perspective – through the collectively shared experience of art and culture.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic our region urgently needs the experience of art to help aid recovery and reconnection. Drawing on the power of the ancient human practice of festival – to gather and rejoice in a feast of art – we are committing our 2021 edition wholeheartedly to supporting our collective re-emergence from this life-changing crisis.

We firmly believe the artists and arts of regional central Victoria will play a vital role in this mission and we are delighted to announce a new CSF COVID-19 artist relief project, WE ARE HERE.

We have been supported to commission a suite of bold new works by artists living in Mount Alexander Shire, Macedon Ranges, Hepburn Shire, Central Goldfields Shire and the City of Greater Bendigo – or projects created within those borders. The aim is to help turn the current devastating disruption of cultural life into a creative, imaginative force. This exciting initiative has offered us the opportunity to commission four new performing/live art works and three new projection/lens arts works for potential presentation at CSF 2021.

Central Victorian artist recipients are Jessie Boylan, Andrée Cozens & Mark Penzak, Furze Brothers and commonplace productions, Hermione Merry & Helen Mathwin, Brodie Murray, Cameron Robbins and Wide Open Road artist collective. Each project receives a share of the $15,000 grant pool to develop and create their performing, projection or visual arts productions.

Please note, applications closed Wednesday 22 July and recipients announced Monday 31 August.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.