NEW SCHOOL: Meredith Crowe, Emma Walker, Michael Cusack and Christine Wilcocks are part of the team behind the new Byron Art School.
NEW SCHOOL: Meredith Crowe, Emma Walker, Michael Cusack and Christine Wilcocks are part of the team behind the new Byron Art School. Christian Morrow

Art school ready to inspire

THE Byron Bay Art School in Mullumbimby is already up and running with the first class of students studying with renowned local artist James Guppy.

Set up by some of the best artists and teachers in the region, the new privately run art school aims to re-capture the classic Art School Experience.

"We are all passionate about art and arts education and we want to pass that on to our students," co-founder Michael Cusack said.

"With the new school we are really emphasising studio practice with all the classes conducted in the artists own studio.

"This year we're offering short, six-week courses, but next year we are hoping to develop some longer courses."

Other founding members are Meredith Crowe, James Guppy, Sarah Harvey, Rick Shearman, Emma Walker and Christine Wilcocks,

The catalyst for starting the school was the severe cuts to TAFE funding earlier this year when courses were dropped.

"Some of us were quite battered and bruised in the process," Mr Cusack said.

There are stacks of new easels and canvases in Mr Cusack's vast Mullumbimby studio awaiting new students.

The group are hoping to raise enough finance to buy Mr Cusack's studio and establish the school's headquarters there.

"There is always talk about the Northern Rivers being a Mecca for artists and creative people," he said.

"We want to facilitate this by building links and commercial relationships with local council and business to capitalise on the creative potential of the region.

"We currently receive no funding from anywhere so we are also looking to for people who may be interested in providing scholarships."



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