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If These Halls Could Talk ...

They’ve been the site of first kisses, first dances, broken romances, celebrations, wakes,  scout and guide meetings, and scrumptious morning and afternoon teas, and their stories and secrets are about to be revealed and recorded.

Last week, Brian Ritchie, Curator of MONA FOMA and bassist of US alternative rock band Violent Femmes, officially launched Arts Northern Rivers’ new arts project If These Halls Could Talk.

The two-year project funded by Arts NSW Regional Partnerships invites everyone in the Northern Rivers to nominate their local hall for a chance to be involved in the exciting community arts project.

Launching the project, Ritchie said it may seem obvious that If These Halls Could Talk is a good idea.

‘We can all imagine wonderful projects being birthed through this process. Bringing art to neglected areas and reviving these old halls feels good,’ explained Ritchie, who has become an advocate of regional arts since moving to Hobart almost a decade ago.

Seven halls from across the Northern Rivers will be selected from the nominations to have a creative producer embedded with their community to collect stories, images and memorabilia of their hall.

The next phase of the project will see a creative team assigned to each hall to create an artistic response to the material gathered from the community.

Guest speaker, Mullumbimby based story activist Moya Sayer Jones said that in her work she constantly witnesses how stories open up people to greater possibilities.

‘I’d love to see that as a community we get more confident in the power of our small stories and that they are worth sharing,’ said Sayer Jones.

Arts Northern Rivers has already secured interest from an impressive cohort of arts and cultural organisations and individuals keen to make up the creative teams.

‘The Northern Rivers is a region of villages many with halls at their centre. Each of these halls has a very distinct personality, therefore part of the project is to make sure the creative teams suit each halls narrative,’ said Arts Northern Rivers CEO, Peter Wood.

While the teams won’t be finalised until nominations close, the creative teams could potentially be made up of visual artists, performing artists, musicians, installation artists, filmmakers or any combination of these that can help tell the story of the particular hall.

To nominate a hall in the Northern Rivers fill out the nomination form on the project’s website

Nominations close 31 July.