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On Friday 16 February 2024, Newstead Arts Hub held our first AGM.

Chris Johnston, outgoing Chair, reads her report at our Inaugural AGM. A wonderful reminder of all that has been achieved at the Hub in the past two years.

Chair’s Report: Chris Johnston
I’d like to start by acknowledging, at this out first AGM, all those who have helped get this
organisation to here: it’s a long list and I’m not going to attempt to name everyone, but rather to
acknowledge first those whose advocacy and effective approaches to VicTrack enabled the
creation of this wonderful art space back in 2015; to those who have served on the Committee since
the very first exhibition in late 2015 – some right through to today; to Newstead 2021 Inc for their
nurturing of this organisation from the beginning; to those who created and care for the fantastic
garden that is so welcoming for visitors; to all the artists who have exhibited or run workshops here;
and to everyone who has visited, donated, promoted, workshopped and enjoyed this amazing
community venue.
And now here we are: an incorporated association at our first AGM, with you our members and with
our first members pop-up exhibition. How good is that! Thanks for becoming members – we really
value you.

Having launched our All Aboard membership campaign on 1 December 2023 just 10 weeks ago, we
now have 93 members – plus any new members who joined this evening. Thank you all for
supporting the Hub by becoming members. We hope many of you will also offer your time and skills
as volunteers: Kate Tucker is coordinating membership and volunteers so please have a chat to her.
Recently we have appointed Melissa O’Rourke as our part-time Program and Promotion
Coordinator: its great to have you join us Melissa and I know the Hub will benefit from your ideas,
insights and energy as you help us build our program and reach out more widely.

Our program
Let me share a few of the highlights at the Arts Hub, looking back a year or two at the amazingly
diverse programming created by wonderful committee members including Andrew Shirres, Jen
Diver, Gillian Power, Gordon Dowell, Jim Roberts and numerous friends like Peter Sullivan, Kelly
Skinner, Laurel Freeland, Gillian Frances and many others.

Our monthly exhibitions and our workshop program have featured a diverse range of
artists: print-makers, painters, ceramists, photographers, scratchboard, drawing, basketry,
textiles and more.

It’s a Small World Sculpture Show in March 2023 – wonderful entries from across Victoria
and beyond, with the exhibition and prizes supported by the Community Bank Maldon and
Our inaugural Artists Market in December – wow, that was a feast for the sense – beautiful,
hand-crafted work on sale throughout the Hub – we’ll do it again this year!
Instrument Makers Gallery – now held three times at the Hub as part of Newstead Live –
wonderful to liven up the Hub with music on the platform, the verandah and in every room.

Guitar concerts in the main gallery: in 2022 (Clancy McLeod) and Contra Guitar Duo –
Hamish Strathdee & Emma-Shay Gallenti-Guilfoyle (2023)
Precious: remarkable exhibition of objects that local people held as ‘precious’ and
accompanied by their stories – and then a year later, a book of the exhibition
Fred Smith – Sparrows of Kabul – a concert in the Community Centre in partnership with
Newstead Live as part of Fred Smith’s Victoria-wide tour
Stories around the Fire – now an annual event to mark the start of winter and a place to
share music and stories
Art Windows – dressing up the street in Newstead as part of a Shire-wide Fringe Festival
Artist Talks – the very first with Melissa Proposch, then a Spring Series with Melinda Harper,
David Frazer, Kynan Sutherland

New to the Hub
 Our new Hub Writers Group – formed in 2023 and meeting monthly to write together and
contribute events and activities for writers – the first was the marvellous Peter Bakowski talk
Newstead Open Studios – formed in 2015 is now auspiced by the Arts Hub – their next art
trail is 9-11 and 16&17 March – there are posters around with the QR code link to their website
and their excellent guide will be out very soon
Talks & performance – talks on decolonising fire, poetry, Indigenous voice to Parliament
and the NerdROM1 – a performance of sound and digital projections using the Goods Shed

Funding the Hub
The Hub is funded through a combination of our events and activities, donations, memberships and
grants. Right now it’s the activities we run here – exhibitions, workshops, events that bring in the
regular income, with grants enabling us to expand our facilities and support specific events.
Membership is now a part of that mix and we are really excited to have gained so many members
so quickly.
We’ve run two Art Auctions in the past as fund-raisers and we’ve got some ideas for 2024 – an art
auction, a platform dinner hamper style, and a special concert. Watch for more in our eNews.
Grants: We won and acquitted grants worth around $32,000 in 2023

 Regional Arts Victoria: Small Regional Presenters Fund ($8,250) – Fred Smith Sparrows of
Kabul concert & songwriting workshop plus support for a mentor during 2023-24
 Newstead RTC ($690) – Hub Writers Group
 Maldon and District Community Bank ($2,200) – Sculpture Prize
 DJPR ($21,779) – Chairs, shelving, heating, platform lights etc
 MASC – several small events grants
Recently the Hub has gained a VicTrack Community Grants for Stage 3 garden development

Many thanks
Many thanks to a range of other people who keep the Hub going: Steve Proposch, We Push Buttons,
Green Graphics, Vincent Casey, Jake Webb, Phil Seaton, the crew from Loddon Prison, Shane
Hartland, Mount Alexander Shire Council – who holds the lease and helps us negotiate with VicTrack,
the ‘landlord’ and owner, and no doubt lots of others!