Case studies

Arbour Festival, Snowy Valleys

A multi-artform festival for recovery, celebration and hope

Just down the road from the charred silence of the iconic Sugar Pines Plantation in the Snowy Valleys, is the Pilot Hill Arboretum, in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales.

On 28 December 2020, exactly one year after the Dunns Road Fire wrought havoc for 50 days, the Arbour Festival began its own 50 day journey, transforming the Arboretum with artworks, installations and events designed to nurture and celebrate the region.

The multi-artform festival was designed to gather the community in celebration, memory and growth.

The project was curated by Vanessa Keenan and coordinated by the team at Eastern Riverina Arts, an organisation with more than two decades experience leading community art projects.

Arbour Festival was a project by the mountains, for the mountains. The key artists involved in the project were bushfire-affected artists from the region impacted by the Dunns Road fire. The program included a curated series of workshops, talks and performances, the Woodland Film Festival, and moments for community reflection such as the quiet and intimate ‘Remembering the Sugar Pines’ event to commemorate the loss of the iconic Sugar Pines Walk.

Images by Jack of Hearts Photography

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