Art by and in the Lake: ‘Art, Not Apart’

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PLUNGING into Lake Burley Griffin is just one of the “beautiful and crazy experiences” on offer in the “Art, Not Apart” festival, whose fifth annual program was launched today.

Acton - 'Our' beach
Acton – ‘Our’ beach

The festival, intended to develop and show contemporary Canberra art across NewActon and the lake, will run through the day and night of Saturday, March 14 when, say the organisers, “boundaries will be thrown into the lake

“We’re not just asking you to swim in the lake, we’re asking you to jump off your normal perspective,” says, David Caffery, producer of the event, adding, “The swim will also be refreshing.”

“Did you know?” Caffery asks rhetorically, “Canberra has an official beach at West Basin? It’s hilarious, so we’re celebrating it at the same time as celebrating contemporary arts practice. The Acton Beach party is the festival’s designated swimming spot, complete with Ruffino and the Coconuts – a great party band from Sydney.”

'Burn', photo Martin Ollmann
‘Burn’, photo Martin Ollmann

But mostly the program is shaped by Canberra’s artists, with a focus on existing art and new work.

And ambitions are not limited. This year “Art, Not Apart” will move beyond NewActon to take in of the ANU and National Museum.

“This expansion,” Caffery explains, “reflects the willingness of government, ANU and the private sector to contribute to the cultural development of our city… A festival is fun and colourful way to trial this collaboration.”

While there is more to come, there preliminary program details are as follows, but for all information visit

Program for 2015:

1601 Exhibition

NewActon has an expansive concrete shell penthouse in the South Tower. It will be filled with contemporary art and overlook the festival, city and lake below. Feature artists Victoria Lees and Lewis Goonerage will premier works beside many others.

Westside Street Party

Unique collaborations across old and new media in shipping containers and massive murals. Spray paint and DJs will fill the air with a unique vibe. This is the first major event at Westside.

Curated by Natjalia Nikolic


Westside, West Basin

Art Walk

Between the Acton Beach Party and Westside will be a series of installations, performances, markets and avant-garde music. Perfect for a lakeside picnic. West Basin along the bike path


Work It

Site-specific dance theatre, video and sound performance. The project investigates issues of locational identity and spatial dynamics that constantly, often unconsciously, impact our patterns of existence.

Level 8, Nishi

Cool Combo

MILS Gallery comes down from Sydney, teamed with Hotel Hotel, to present a show combining primal shields from Papua New Guinea and new Western art. The combo of individual pursuit and expression forms something greater than its parts.

Opening Friday March 13 at 6PM

Open March 14 – 29

Nishi Gallery

Acton Beach Party

Headlined by Rufino and the Coconuts – ridiculous swimming music.

Curated by Canberra Musicians’ Club

Acton Beach – yes, Canberra has an official beach!

Swim at the Acton Beach Party Splashy splashy

Central Stage

Performance art, music and comedy.

  1. Baker Courtyard Stage

Launch of These Heathen Dreams

With performance poetry and a commissioned short film

Palace Electric Cinema

“Is Art Becoming Irrelevant?” – panel discussion led by ANU School of Art staff Monster kitchen and bar salon

Canberra Symphony Orchestra Ensemble

Short history of classical music

Central Stage

Suitcase Rummage

Bargains out of a suitcase (no crap, just cases of good stuff) 1 – 7PM

Under the trees beside the Acton Beach Party

‘New Music’ showcase by ANU School of Music lecturers and researchers Central Stage

F*ck Art, Let’s Party

The big after-party at Westside, where art becomes party but is the party arty? F*ck it. 18+, 7pm onwards

Sound and Fury performance-art-after-party

Performative, emotive art. Party style. Darker, yet positive.

18 + a curious mind

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Helen Musa
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