Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell sitting for North Casino sculptor Laszlo Biro.
Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell sitting for North Casino sculptor Laszlo Biro.

Mayor becomes the art in Lismore's heart

AFTER opening most of the more than 30 Art in the Heart exhibitions at Magellan St, Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell is starring in the pop-up gallery's second-last exhibition.

North Casino artist Laszlo Biro is creating a clay bust of Cr Dowell through the "Menagerie" exhibition, which runs from today until Saturday, November 4, with a mid-show "opening" ceremony on November 1, officiated by - you guessed it - Cr Dowell.

Lismore Art in the Heart coordinator Stephen Nelson said the owners of the 56 Magellan St shopfront, Lynn and Darren Bassey, had generously allowed Art in the Heart to use it as a gallery space for about 18 months, but time is running out.

"We've been given until mid-November before we have to vacate the fully-renovated premises, and this will enable me to mount one final exhibition, hard on the heels of the 'Menagerie' group show," Mr Nelson said.

"Whilst this is sad for the program in a way, it is a wonderful outcome for the owners, who are close to securing commercial tenants for their impressive ground floor space - and attractive new inner city 'shop top' living quarters."

Mr Biro, who runs his own studio and gets commissions from across Australia to create art works, would work every day on the clay bust of the mayor during the course of the exhibition.

Other artists featuring in Menagerie included artist-musician Kim Mclean, clothes designer and sculptor Jeht Burgoyne, and the team of JanAnn Fleming and Marie-Lise Laviolette, who were providing three major pieces they had created together during the past four months, Mr Nelson said.

"Art in the Heart has enabled around 200 artists to show their work to the world, and we estimate that nearly 14,000 people have visited the solo and group exhibitions, workshops, long-term residencies, film and poetry nights, and other events which have taken place in seven separate 'empty spaces' over the past two years," Mr Nelson said.

"The program is still continuing, with an application for Regional Arts Funding sent to the NSW State Government recently.

"Art in the Heart is currently involved in assembling a coalition of all the organisations that make up Lismore's vibrant cultural sector, in order to commission a strategic plan which can guide the future direction and raise the profile of the arts here in the heart of the Northern Rivers."



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