Join local creatives for PORTAL Sunday Morning Sessions

Published on 31 July 2020

Rowena Martinich's 'Common Gesture' at RMIT

A panel of Surf Coast’s most renowned public artists will discuss the role of public art in a live-streamed Sunday Morning Session conversation, held as part of PORTAL, this year’s incarnation of the Surf Coast Arts Trail.

Being held 11am on Sunday 2 August via Zoom, Rowena Martinich, Julie Shiels, Grant Fincke and Glenn Romanis will discuss the role public art plays in helping to create place - and why it matters.

Rowena Martinich, who has created public artworks around Australia, as well as commercial projects across the globe, has seen the benefits large-scale public art pieces bring to communities.

“Public art can invigorate communities and activate a sense of place. We have internationally recognised artists living here that should be embraced and showcased,” she said.

“Public art helps give locations something that they become known for.  It can be used like signposts, leading people from one area to another; they become recognised and ‘owned’ by their community.”

“Having more public art on the Surf Coast would help provide a common sense of place for those who live here.  As we have seen from the widely recognised use of large scale works across the world such as the Silo Trails, public art adds another aspect for visitors to a region. We have a lot of talent here on the Surf Coast.  It should be showcased and put on a stage,” she said.

The Sunday Morning Sessions will continue to run every Sunday from 11am to midday throughout August.  They are part of the COVID-Safe alternatives Council has created for creatives following the cancellation of its popular Surf Coast Arts Trail, which usually sees around 5,000 people visit 70-plus venues over one weekend each August.

Other upcoming Sunday Morning Sessions:

  • 9 August: ‘The Making of the Surf Coast Arts Trail’.

    Cr Margot Smith in conversation with Julie Dyer, Pat McKenzie and Cinnamon Stephens.

  • 16 August: ‘Theatre Matters – within and beyond the Surf Coast’.

    Award winning playwright Janet Brown in conversation with Janine McKenzie, Nicky Watson, Maryanne Doolen and Michael Baker.

  • 23 August: ‘Art, activism and place’.

    Stacie Bobele in conversation with Deirdre Carmichael, Richy Bennett, John Foss and Peter Day.

  • 30 August: ‘Where to now? The future of the Arts on the Surf Coast’.

    Harriet Gaffney in conversation with Stewart Guthrie, Geoffrey Carran, Helen Gibbins, Daniela Rodriguez and Mark Trinham.

Surf Coast Shire Councillor David Bell said the sessions, which began in July, had been embraced by the arts and broader community as an alternative to arts trail events at this time.

“We’ve had a huge response to our Sunday Morning Sessions, with people from across the region as well as overseas tuning in to hear local creatives discuss their works as well as the big picture issues of how arts and culture impact communities,” Cr Bell said. 

“We have such an incredible talent pool of artists on the Surf Coast, and these sessions are a great opportunity to delve into local stories and hear insights into how art connects us and celebrates our identity.” 

“Best of all, you can listen in from the comfort of your living room,” he said.

For more information and upcoming sessions, and to register for one of the free sessions, go to

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