Byron artists rally to save historic hall


A collective of Northern Rivers artists have launched an open art festival to save a 100-year-old town hall — one of the few remaining galleries in the region.

Federal Town Hall and School of Arts. Photo: Supplied

Local artists Marika Bryant and Soren Carlbergg formed the Art 4 Art’s Sake festival to raise money for repairs to the Federal Town Hall, twenty minutes inland from Byron Bay. The hall also doubles as the Federal School of Arts.

Collectively known as Jasper Corner, the hall and attached church opened 123 years ago and served as the centre of the small community of farmers, travellers and settlers.

In 2012, the town raised more than $200,000 to repurchase the church, sold off to pay debt incurred by the Anglican Archdiocese.

Ms. Bryant and Mr. Carlbergg are among the exhibiting artists, as well as painter Nikky Morgan-Smith and glassblower Jacqueline King.

Ms. Bryant said since art is no longer a requirement in schools, she hopes the exhibition will give emerging artists a new platform.

“As many galleries are struggling and closing — Mullumbimby recently and The Channon less recently — where do so many artists show their works?” she said.

“Where will emerging artists find a venue to exhibit, without becoming disheartened?”

The Art Piece Gallery in Mullumbimby closed in May after more than a decade of operation, along with The Channon Art Gallery.

Both galleries were some of the few places smaller and emerging artists could display their work and make a name for themselves.

  • The Art 4 Art’s Sake Festival will run on 29-30 September, from 10am to 5pm, in the Federal Hall School of Arts. Visitors are invited to leave a gold coin donation on entry, with raffles and food available all day.

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