Important role for the arts in regions during tough times

Published:06 May 2020

TOP: The program logo. BELOW: Tough & Tender Round 1 Artists: Top: (from left) Noel Brady, Shelley Engwirda, Middle: Tracey Hewitt, Rachel Koster, Bottom: Karen Anderson, Melissa Peacock

Queensland regional communities have gone through a lot in recent years with drought, fire and floods, and now the world is being impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Through these tough times, the arts can play important roles for individuals and communities by providing entertainment, distraction, solace and contributions to mental wellbeing and community resilience.

CQUniversity and the Central Queensland Regional Arts Services Network will be exploring some of the ways the arts can be used to respond, reimagine and rebuild through the Tough and Tender Beauty Artist ‘at home’ residency program.

Tough and Tender is the signature project for the Central Queensland Regional Arts Services Network for 2020-21 and will profile the importance of the arts for creative response, resilience, recovery, memorialising and celebration. A range of activities will take part place over the next 15 months with a culmination weekend in June 2021.

As phase one of that project, the CQ RASN has invited artists/creative practitioners from diverse artforms to engage in a one-month residency ‘at home’, with the first residency starting from 4 May.

An initial selection of six artists from diverse regions and artforms will engage in their own practice and way of working, reflecting upon the current context and responding to the theme. These artists will share aspects of their process or work through platforms such as blogs, podcasts/artist talk and social media posts throughout the month. Other residency rounds will follow from June with new artists each round.

The CQ RASN is delighted to announce the following artists from across the CQ Region will take part in the inaugural residency: Melissa Peacock (Community artist, Gladstone), Noel Brady (Sculptor, Livingstone), Rachel Koster (Singer/songwriter, North Burnett),Tracey Hewitt (Artist/Author, Banana), Karen Andersen (Visual artist, Fraser Coast) and Shelley Engwirda (Glass artist, Mackay). The diversity of practice of these six artists ensures an exciting program for the month ahead! Their experiences will be profiled through the ‘Tough and Tender Beauty’ blog and CQ RASN social media sites.

This project will provide a catalyst for diverse artists from across the wider Central Queensland region to document and respond to the landmark crisis of our times, generate new work, and contribute to a suite of digital, performed and material outcomes. Work created will also extend artistic and creative boundaries as artists expand their capacity and skill sets.

To keep up to date with the project and the CQ Regional Arts Services Network see: