By David Russell
The world’s only (as far as we know) open access arts festival is in full swing, and this year, it’s bigger than ever. SALA is hosting 610 exhibitions and events in over 500 venues across South Australia during the month of August. That’s an 11 per cent increase in exhibitions compared to last year.
Adelaide’s size and the open-access nature of the festival is key to its success, according to SALA General Manager Penny Griggs.
“SALA is open to anyone who wants to exhibit… there is nothing like it anywhere in the world,” she said.
“Everyone knows somebody who has an exhibition in SALA, which is great for exposure… and our venue stickers have become very recognisable.
“Adelaide is also a perfectly-sized city for festivals… you can miss festivals in larger cities if you’re not looking for them, but you can’t avoid them in Adelaide.”
SALA 2015 exhibitions are being held in a broad range of venues, including established art galleries, libraries, wineries, cafes and warehouses. There’s even one in a Kindergarten and another in a retirement village. And while SALA’s mission has remained the same since the festival launched in 1998 – to celebrate South Australian living artists – each year is a little different.
“This year Government House is involved, and the new governor is a big SALA fan. He has opened up the garden to emerging sculpture artists… (such as) Sally Wickes, who has done a sculpture of a giant bunny, and Astra Parkes, who does abstract forms with metals.
“There is also a textile art tour, run by the Lady Mayoress Genevieve Theseira-Haese, and an urban art safari with Gus Clutterbuck – who wears his favourite safari suit.”
Penny’s top six picks
A survey of South Australia’s best contemporary artists across 13 sites, including UniSA, FELTspace and Light Square Gallery in the city, Contemporary Art Centre in Parkside, Adelaide Central School of Art in Glenside, Greenaway in Kent Town, and a pop-up site at 172 Morphett St.
CACSA Contemporary 2015 is a curated multi-sited major presentation of South Australia’s leading contemporary artists, chosen to inspire audiences with their diverse and innovated practice. www.salafestival.com/search.aspx?key=cacsa+contemporary and www.cacsa.org.au/
Geoff Wilson: Interrogated Landscape – Samstag Museum
A survey of the local landscape artist, who is a master of modernist composition. www.salafestival.com/Details.aspx?showid=3888
Seeing Spring – Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre
Breaking Ground recipient Morgan Allender and Tenth Meadow florist present evocative large-scale botanical oil paintings. www.salafestival.com/Details.aspx?showid=4366
Dan Withey – City Library
Part of Guildhouse’s Collections Project – along with another six exhibitions being held in the same venue. www.salafestival.com/Details.aspx?showid=4686
Occasional Purpose – Floating Goose Studios
Live drawing evenings on Fridays throughout SALA in the emerging artist studio in the old Trims building. Run by a group of students from Adelaide Central School of Art. www.salafestival.com/Details.aspx?showid=4269
This year there will be live portrait drawing on Friday nights, which ties into a large portrait exhibition being held throughout the terminal. Curated by Carollyn Kavanagh, some of the exhibiting artists include: Derek Sargent, Megan Roodenrys, Daniel Connell, Luke Thurgate, Emma Hack and Damien Shen. http://www.salafestival.com/Details.aspx?showid=4034