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Business booming for new Art Factory

17 May 2017 | Posted in: News

lorna art

Having led a successful exhibition and a number of highly popular resin and acrylic pouring workshops on The Stage late last year, Lorna Ballantyne-Epps is back and here to stay. Unpacking her inks and resin materials in The Emporium space previously held by Hannah Louise fashion label, Lorna has plans of factory-proportions.

In addition to running her mid-week and weekend multi-medium workshops in The Emporium, Lorna will be dedicating a portion of her new space The Art Factory into a mini exhibition gallery. Through this space, Lorna intends to offer artists a platform to exhibit their works, workshop their art practices, and sell their works and specific art medium supplies to the public.

Lorna attributes a number of recent commission and workshop opportunities to her residency on The Stage and feels her gallery space in The Art Factory will serve as her way of giving local and nationwide artists a similar opportunity.

From leading workshops in the swimming pool room of the prestigious Mercure Spa and Golf resort to becoming an ambassador for the Newtown based art supplier The Pigment Lab, Lorna is a one-woman art factory in herself.

“I’m a Gemini so I get bored. Getting up and moving a shop somewhere else doesn’t bother me; I’m used to change”

The Art Factory space will mean locals will now have a better chance of catching Lorna and her highly demanded art-making workshops right in the centre of Newcastle. Coinciding with her very own birthday, Lorna will be throwing a launch party for The Art Factory on Saturday the 3rd of June. You can RSVP by emailing her [email protected]

Applications are now open for any visual artists or art-makers interested in exhibiting on The Stage later this year.

Find more information about The Stage and how to apply here.

Live and in full colour

17 May 2017 | Posted in: News



If artist Hannah Simonovich’s abstract landscapes weren’t animated enough exhibited on the walls of The Stage, then her adjoined live open studio brought her rich painterly palettes into whirring, life-like motion. Armed with an arsenal of oil pigments and a fresh canvas or two, Hannah tended to five new works atop The Stage over the span of her six-week residency.

Like many artists, Hannah considers her work and the act of painting itself to be a very personal, and most often exclusive experience. Despite this, Hannah wanted to produce her oil paintings live on The Stage in order to share the essence of her work in its entirety, highlighting their natural lifespan as a series of individually created pieces.

Having only exhibited at the Newcastle Art Space a few times prior, Hannah had a few nerves stepping foot on stage but her dedication to pushing herself and her work is unprecedented;

“I try to evolve. It’s always about progression. I don’t want to do something over and over…

I try to push myself to be different constantly. It can be hard to get out of that comfort zone. I try to do this with each exhibition I do”.

Having recently bought an old retail store property with her partner, Hannah intends to convert the ground level shop space into her artist studio of which she hopes to have open to the public on weekends. We will be keeping in touch with Hannah to know if and when she may be opening her home studio to the public.

If you are a visual artist, photographer, graphic designer, textiles artist or just a professional artisan in general, The Stage is now taking applications for prospective exhibitions later in the year.

Find more information about The Stage and how to apply here.

Worldly Gestures

17 May 2017 | Posted in: News


Fran 2

“I’m always grateful for anyone that would want to show my work. It’s extraordinary that anyone would want to do that.”

Fran O’Neill’s words are extremely humble for the Wangaratta-born artist whose gestural abstract oil paintings continue to impress the American market.

Having recently returned from her ten week trip in the States, Fran is back inside her Hunter Street studio, oiled-glove to canvas, with a little time on the side to reflect on the string of successful solo exhibitions and university workshops she led while overseas. Fran’s tour of the States saw her exhibit in Brooklyn, Jacksonville and Atlanta; each an experience completely unlike the other.

Brookyln’s David & Schweitzer gallery had her opening an exhibition on the eve of a new president’s inauguration, “there was a lot of political unrest and uncertainty…those first few weeks were a little crazy” she recalls. Despite this prevailing sentiment, Fran received many high praises and widespread reviews in addition to having the opportunity to participate in an artist talk with a popular Brooklyn writer as a result of the exhibition. Ever effective with her time management, Fran also managed to lead a one-week compressed painting course at the New York Studio School during her time in Brooklyn.

Her second exhibition at Jackonsville’s Sublime Gallery Original witnessed her works displayed alongside contemporary furniture and homewares in a ‘gallery-come-design’ space which would serve in significantly broadening her market.

Last on her tour, Atlanta’s Hathaway Contemporary Gallery was awarded Best New Art Gallery by the American Art Association at the time of her solo exhibition which would expose crowds from across the country to Fran’s work.

Although having only been back in Australia for a a little over a month, Fran will be exhibiting on The Stage in the Emporium beginning this week from Thursday the 18th until the end of the month.

Influence by design

1 April 2017 | Posted in: News

The Stage - Architecture show - Emporium - Edwina Richards Photography

Many of our participants are playing a part in growing young minds and collaborating to strengthen the creative community.  Ensuring the arts continue to be part of our society by passing on their knowledge is a regular part of their working week.

Carl Morgan from Zookraft and Ben Mitchell from Benny Rizzo have been long standing participants with Renew and teach in the Faculty of Education and Arts. Carl also recognizes the need to expose local designers to the changing front of current practice by bringing national and international experts to speak at a local annual festival called Look Hear.

Professor Mario Minichiello is Head of the discipline of Design at the University of Newcastle, but has also, until very recently, held a Renew space as a designer and artist. Mario is interested in being a part of the continuous building and refining of the creative Industries in Newcastle. His involvement with Renew and his academic role are avenues for him to share his passion.

Links with the School of Architecture go both ways. Mark Spence’s business, Anthrosite, was a long term Renew project that moved to a commercial lease last year. Mark has been teaching 4th and 5th year Architecture students for six years and influenced many promising graduates to begin their own business in Newcastle rather than seek opportunities in the capital cities. Working in parallel with Anthrosite, Mark can offer them a co-working space, mentoring and tap them into local networks. Many of these graduates now also teach into the Architecture program.

Our gallery space in The Emporium hosts an annual exhibition of design projects (posters, models, digital projections) produced by first year architecture students enrolled in the Master of Architecture at the University of Newcastle. The space becomes a stage for live critics and assessments of the assignment work.

The Renew HQ team took on Rayannon Innes for an intern placement as part of her Communications degree. Rayannon continued in a volunteer capacity and has showed such talent, professionalism and enthusiasm for the Renew cause that we have officially welcomed her to the team with a paid contract to do small projects.

A pioneering spirit and vision for growing the broader community are values Renew seeks in a participant. Linking with university activity enriches the realm of possibilities of the creative network and inspires young minds to see the arts as a viable possibility for their future.

Creators as Incubators

1 April 2017 | Posted in: News

graham at incubator

We are very excited that the success of Dale Collier and Graham Wilson’s businesses have put them in a position to take a commercial lease on a property in Clyde Street, Georgetown.

Bringing together a creative community of artists, designers, makers, thinkers, The Creator Incubator was born. It’s a creative space for working, but also to run workshops, host exhibitions and offer short-term workshop rental. Keep your eye out for exciting things happening there.