Karla Dickens announced as artistic director for October's Art Byron gathering

Renowned First Nations artist to curate inaugural Art Byron gathering

Renowned First Nations artist Karla Dickens has been announced as artistic director of this year's inaugural Art Byron gathering.

The October 1-4 event will be held across multiple venues including Byron School of Art (BSA), Yeah, Nice. Gallery, and Station Street Studios.

Organisers say the gathering will bring together outstanding talent, creating an open forum for like-minded people to share, discuss and explore contemporary culture.

"My involvement in Art Byron focuses on asking the audience, artists and wider communities the question, Love or Fear?", says Dickens.

"After 2020, we all have the amazing opportunity to create and drive major change, to hold and embrace what really matters, to let go of the unnecessary, building a safe, holistic environment that pops with soulful, colourful connection."

Art Byron Chair Janine Collins says whilst COVID has given Australians time to pause and reflect, Art Byron will create the opportunity to reconnect.

"The Northern Rivers of New South Wales has the largest concentration of artists and creative industries outside any capital city.

"Art Byron fulfils the need for a platform to celebrate contemporary art in the region."

Participating artists at the BSA gallery include internationally-acclaimed photographic artist Polly Borland, artist with disability Zion Levy, Japanese- Australian artist Hiromi Tango, floral artist Selena Murray, and Clare Milledge.

The exterior building will feature video projections and panel art by artists such as Laith McGregor, Djon Mundine, Justine Muller, Murray Butcher and Grace Hoskins.

First Nations artists and Indigenous cultural experiences are integral to the vision of Art Byron with local Bundjalung artists Michael Philp and Garth Lena exhibiting Salt Water alongside sculptural works by Lismore-based artist Beck Davies at Yeah, Nice. Gallery in Byron Bay.

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet with local artists at the Station Street open studios get-together - studio artists include Heath Wae, Mike Chavez, Robyn Sweaney, Emma Walker, Kat Shapiro-Wood, Courtney Cook and Mahalla Magins.

The community will meet the artists in conversation, and a series of talks will be held across the weekend.

The inaugural gathering is supported through philanthropy and a major partnership with Gold Coast SKODA.

"We are thrilled to have the support of the local community and SKODA, who are leading the way in supporting arts engagement in region," says Founder and CEO, Lisa Cowan.

"Art Byron's Board is made up of a group of cultural leaders from the Byron Shire and Sydney. We have ambitious ideas for the future. As we grow, we will be inviting artists from further afield, creating a platform for cultural exchange.

"The festival will strengthen the regional arts sector, giving local venues and artists the opportunity to exhibit alongside leading urban talent connecting all contemporary art lovers.