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Tiny student treasures on track

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La Trobe visual arts students’ work is popping up at train stations along the Melbourne line. The group show, titled Small Works from a Big Place, features more than 200 works by regional artists, from the budding to the best-of.

First stop was Riddles Creek, then Castlemaine, and now it’s Bendigo’s turn to host the hundreds of pint-sized paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photographs and mixed media works.

Three undergraduate, two honours and two masters students have produced art for the travelling exhibition. One of those is Jacinta Walsh, who pointed out her tiny blue painting in her home station of Castlemaine.

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“It’s a great way to be seen,” Jacinta says of the show. “It’s good because it gets people who don’t usually view art to see it, and it shows there’s a cohort of artists in the region who really want to be involved.”

Jacinta’s own involvement with the arts has been strengthened through her creative community. She moved to Barkers Creek with her partner in 1993, to live the dream in an off-grid home they built on a bush block.

“Everyone around me was an artist and my creative outlet was my work and my singing.” Jacinta works in community development and environmental advocacy. “It’s probably even stronger now,” she says of Castlemaine’s creative culture. “We were all fringe back then, now it’s more abundant and robust.”

Eventually Jacinta followed her own curiosity about art and did a year-long arts pathways course. That was enough to get hooked, and in 2014 she enrolled to study a Bachelor of Creative Arts at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus. She’s been studying part-time ever since.

“I’ve only got a certain amount of time so the less subjects I do each year the more in-depth I can get into each subject. I have the luxury of being able to do that.”

A highlight of this year was a three-week subject in Manilla, where Jacinta visited galleries and studios and met other artists from that country. “It was pretty full on and amazing,” she says. “It was very stimulating, so I want to do more overseas subjects.

“I’m interested in exploring a whole lot of different things, which is what university allows me to do. I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to do subjects like printmaking or video without that structure and expertise at my fingertips.”

Next year she’s signing up for ceramics and photojournalism, another overseas subject, and lots more wonderful opportunities for personal and professional growth. She counts this pop up exhibition as one of them.

See Jacinta’s work and that of fellow La Trobe students Emma Brown, Melita Jansen, Jessica Murtagh, Judith Warnest, Janet Bromley, Melissa Scott and alumni, including Edwina Combe and Sharon Greenaway, at the Bendigo Railway Station from December 1 to 10. The show then moves to the Bendigo Marketplace and the Arnold Street Gallery, before returning to Castlemaine for the State Festival in March.

Jacinta also has paintings on show at the Shelf Life Gallery in the Taradale wine and produce store until December 16.

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Pop Up Art is a Federal Government initiative to help artists find audiences and markets for their work through the Building Better Regions fund. The City of Greater Bendigo, Macedon and Mount Alexander shires and VLine have also supported the exhibition, an initiative of Jump Leads a NFP, charity status organisation.

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