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Interview With Shari Knott from The Old Clare Hotel, Chippendale

In the build up to Mother’s Day we sat down with creatives, business owners and curators from selection of some of our favourite spots in Sydney to get their tips for a cliche free, thoroughly unique Mother’s Day!

It’s easy to see why the Old Clare has rapidly become central to Chippendale’s recent renaissance. Combining luxury, with history and beguiling design, the hotel has quickly become the residence of choice for some of Sydney’s most fascinating visitors. But it’s appeal extends beyond its role as a traditional hotel. With a buzzing bar located in the lobby, and relationships with Sydney’s most innovative restaurants, Kensington Street Social and Automata, the venue has become a fast favourite for Sydney locals.

We sat down the Shari Knott from the Old Clare to get her tips for a stylish, and thoroughly original Mother’s Day.

Can you tell us a bit about the relationship between The Old Clare, Kensington Street Social and Automata?
The Old Clare Hotel and the two restaurants live under the same roof, and although they are separate businesses we still work together and share resources to offer great experience to our guests.

Is there anything special (or more special than usual!) happening at any of the venues for Mother's Day?
Yes, indeed! We’re putting on quite the feast for all the amazing and inspiring women out there.

The hotel will host a morning yoga and meditation class with instructor Kristy da Silva. We are also collaborating with Lauren Hung from The Black Line to host a calligraphy class as the perfect workshop for mothers and daughters.

Since it’s also a festive day we’ve arranged a rosé and champagne bar with Kensington Street Social and make your own mini pavlova stand within the main linkway (foyer). Additionally, Thomas Puttick will be showcasing his new line ahead of MBFWA, also in our linkway, open to everyone.

Basically, we’ve got your afternoon covered, just leave it up to Old Clare to keep you entertained.

All details: http://www.theoldclarehotel.com.au/whats-on/?event=mother-s-day

What are some of your favourite items on the menu at Kensington Street Social and Automata?
At Kensington Street Social you can’t go wrong with their brunch, now available both Saturday and Sunday (also on Mother’s Day of course). The Tataki Hiramasa kingfish will always be my favourite, and for something larger, currently the Swordfish or Wagyu tri-tip are delicious!

http://kensingtonstreetsocial.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/KSS-ALC-30.03.2017.pdf

As for Automata, just eat whatever Clayton puts in front of you, it’s bound to blow your mind. The 5-course menu is updated every week, so we tend to find excuses to go there as often as possible.

I also recommend the 3-course lunch menu available Fridays and Saturdays, it’s a fun way to end the week and entertain clients with great food!

After enjoying a meal at Kensington Street Social, or Automata, or a drink at the Clare Bar, what are some activities around Chippendale that you would recommend for Mothers Day?

Aside from the drinks and pavlova in our linkway?
White Rabbit Gallery always has great exhibitions, currently they’re showcasing “The Dark Matters”.

And if you’re still up for more drinks, Handpicked Wines has great cheese to accompany your wine tasting. Let’s face it, cheese is always a good option.

You can book our Chippendale and Redfern tour here.

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Interview With David Williams from White Rabbit Gallery

In the build up to Mother’s Day we sat down with creatives, business owners and curators from selection of some of our favourite spots in Sydney to get their tips for a cliche free, thoroughly unique Mother’s Day!

Chippendale’s White Rabbit Gallery is one of our favourite spots on our Chippendale walking tour. The gallery has earned international acclaim for its dazzling collection of Contemporary Asian Art. Unlike other galleries, it does not have a permanent collection, instead housing a constantly changing, cutting edge exhibitions, each more fascinating than the last.

If that wasn’t enough, the Gallery also houses an utterly charming tea room, and design boutique, making it the perfect place to take a creatively inclined mother. We sat down with curator David Williams to discuss their latest exhibition, his favourite things about the tea room, boutique and his favourite spots in Redfern.

Can you tell us a bit about the current exhibition at White Rabbit?
“The Dark Matters” explores the ways contemporary Chinese artists are using the classical Chinese palette of grey, black and white in their practice. The ancient Chinese got their ink from smoky oil lamps, brushing away deposited soot and mixing it into a paste that hardened into “stones”. This black was pure, indelible and did not fade, and they fell in love with it. They used it not only for writing but for painting, which they saw as just another way to express their thoughts. By adjusting the ink’s dilution and the density of their brushstrokes, painters could create a multitude of shades, from deepest blue-black to palest dove grey. Black had always been the colour of mystery, night, the void. The better the artists got to know black ink, the more superficial, even gaudy, colour seemed. As the Daoist philosopher Laozi declared: “Colours cause the eye to go blind.” Black—utterly simple yet infinitely subtle—allowed one to see the truth.

Chinese artists no longer live in a simple, natural, orderly world. They get their blacks not just from ink stones but from printer cartridges, spray cans, propane torches, X-ray film, newsprint, polyester, computer bits and steel. And they use blacks to convey realities the classical masters never dreamed of: oil spills, air pollution, megacities, mass production and political machinations. The artists in this show don’t shun light or colour, but in using them they follow Laozi’s advice: “Know the white, but hold to the black.” Containing more than ever, the dark also conceals more than ever. And it matters more than ever that we see.

What are some of your favourite items on the menu at the White Rabbit Tea House?
I can’t get enough of the Chicken and Coriander Dumplings with a pot of Ginseng Oolong tea. Delicious.  Although our new gluten-free Organic Tofu and Coriander dumplings with a Lychee Iced Tea comes a very close second.

Other than coming to the exhibition, what are some other ways people can incorporate the White Rabbit into a Mother’s Day gift? Do you have any favourite items in the White Rabbit shop?
A trip to the Gallery and a treat for Mum in the Tea House has become a tradition for many of our visitors, it’s a great way to spend some quality time with your Mum and then have a chat about the exhibition in the Tea House. We have quite a few gifts that are unique to our Gallery Shop, such as ornamental plates and silk scarves from the artist Bu Hua. Late last year we sourced the really terrific Lumio lights and they have proven to be really popular gifts, I couldn’t resist buying one for my house. The great thing about the shop is that all budgets are covered, from $1 to over $1000. It’s going to be too late for Mother’s Day, but we will are waiting for a delivery of limited edition works by the artist Xu Zhen, they will only be available at eh White Rabbit in Australia so I can’t wait to show them off!

What are some of your favourite things to do in Redfern and Chippendale after a visit to the gallery?
There is so much to do in the area now. Terrific cafes and bars and Spice Alley is a definite must. It’s always great to visit the local Chippendale Galleries like Pom Pom, Ambush and The Commercial. And having Carriageworks so close to us makes it a great place to visit after seeing the White Rabbit.

You can book your tour of Chippendale and Redfern here.

Artist: Yang Mushi

Artist: Yang Mushi

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Outdoors Art: Nature Edition - Sculpture At Scenic World

By now, you’ve probably all seen the gorgeous images of deep, crisp snow coming out from the Snowy Mountains and in Victoria’s Highlands, and experienced serious winter FOMO.

Although snow may be rare up in Sydney that same feeling of chilled relaxation isn’t. The sixth annual Sculpture at Scenic World has opened in the Blue Mountains; showcasing a stunning display of  immersive, nature-based artworks.

Artists such as Elyssa Sykes Smith, Marta Ferracin, Chris Bennie, and Elin & Keino are displaying their stunning ability to create art that complements, yet is at odds with its natural surroundings. Pale strings are stretched translucently between trees, while coloured glass reflects gaudy light through the trees.

As the weather gets colder, it is the perfect time to escape the hustle of the city and experience the natural beauty Sydney’s surrounding bushlands.

Remember: art is everywhere! If you’d like to be tipped off about more art out and about, book one of our tours.

Chris Bennie

Chris Bennie

Elin & Keino

Elin & Keino

Emily Kaar

Emily Kaar

Harrie Fasher

Harrie Fasher

Jody Graham

Jody Graham

Kevina Jo-Smith

Kevina Jo-Smith

Louis Pratt

Louis Pratt

Louisa Magrics

Louisa Magrics

Mark Surtees

Mark Surtees

Claire Becker

Claire Becker

Marta Ferracin

Marta Ferracin

Sally Kidall

Sally Kidall

Sally Simpson

Sally Simpson

Selena Seifert & Chris Wellwood

Selena Seifert & Chris Wellwood

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Interview With Kristina Karasula

We sat down with Cultural Development Officer at Redfern Community Centre, and longtime Redfern local, Kristina Karasula.

What is it like being Redfern community manager?
It's a wonderful diverse role that allows me the privilege to create meaningful engagement opportunities between people, communities and organisation

Who are some of your favourite artists? What attracts you to their work?
Tony Albert - for his quirky and poignant use of pop iconic items that play into history Adam Hill - local original political insightful Del Kathryn Barton colourful - reflect family - life - ongoing process never complete Dorothy Napangardi - deep emotive and meaningful, love the use of blacks whites greys subtle but powerful.

What top 3 things would you recommend to a visitor in Redfern?
The community street murals; the community centre; 107 Projects; and the quirky bars and cafes.

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Interview With Matt Richardson of Henry Lee’s

As all well-seated art lovers know, embarking on the hunt for the visual spectacle that is art on the street can be hungry work. You can be enjoying the sight of a Vietnamese temple statue for so long you’ll find yourself weak at the knees for a crummy pack of dried wasabi peas you found at the corner store.

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Interview With Justin Johnstone (MONA)

We caught up with MONA’s Front of House Manager, Justin Johnstone to get a behind the scenes look at MONA and Dark MOFO. Justin regaled us with stories of debaucherous parties, fabulous exhibitions, and his tips for a first time trip to Dark MOFO.

Can you tell us a bit about your role at MONA/ Dark MOFO?
My job title is Front of House manager however it has entailed far more than I'd ever imagined before I started seven or so years ago.

Basically I'm responsible for the Front of House team that includes both the Ticketing and Gallery Attendant teams and for the Visitor experience at Mona and for the Festivals Mofo and Dark Mofo (120 or so staff at Mona and an additional 60 or so during the festivals).  However I also host VIPs, coordinate with the F&B team for Functions and Events on site and off.

The most memorable moments have included the Marina Abramovic exhibition opening at Mona (4,500 or so visitors) and the Mike Parr exhibition ‘Asylum’ that was held in an old mental asylum in New Norfolk that required our team to work during the 72 hour performance in the middle of winter in a remote location (it rained, hailed and snowed).

I've also co ordinated Nude tours of the museum (curated by Stuart Ringholt), fed Cloaca professional (the shit machine) and worked on the door at the Festival after parties Faux Mo and Black List until 4am (looking out for David Walsh, David Burn and local politician David O’Bynre all of whom were on the guest list) before heading down to Sandy Bay to help with the Solstice Nude swim.  Fortunately we've developed a great team of experienced and generally unflappable supervisors and front of house staff.  I am very much in the habit of calling in plenty of favours from staff at all times of the day and night during the festivals.

The Dark MOFO festivities seem to be in conversation with the unique environment in Hobart. What do you think the relationship is between the festival and its location?
Dark Mofo exploded the myth that you can't succeed with getting the locals out in winter or attracting visitors in winter.

With a range of large scale public artworks, performances and events based around the themes of the Winter Solstice, lightness and dark and a range of free programming it has allowed festival goers to experience the waterfront and historic Salamanca areas in winter (regardless of the weather) and shone a light on previously unexplored areas such as Dark Park at Macquarie Point (adjacent to the Art School), the catacombs under Battery Point park and under the Town Hall used as exhibition spaces or the Detached Gallery in the basement of the Old Mercury Building for the Patricia Piccinini show.

Is there anything in particular that you're looking forward to at the festival this year?
The program hasn't been made public yet (and even I haven't been given any specific insights yet) however Winter Feast is on and a highlight for a high standard of food, drinks and performances (Moo Brew, Moorilla Wine and cocktails, Tassie whiskies and food vendors such as Get Shucked oysters and Lady Hester donuts).

Black List Nightclub is likely to be on again and in addition there is always a special event highlight in the program.  Last year it was the Funeral Party - a gothic costume ball evening of cocktails, music and debauchery (a live embalming, performances from TSO choir and then DJ Chelsea Wolf and live band, Itchy ) that was held in a genuine funeral parlour.  Dark Park will be re worked and in a sense is the festival hub.

What is your advice to someone attending Dark MOFO for the first time?
Download the app and rest before you get here as you're not likely to get much sleep while you're here ... and maybe bring a puffer jacket.

BOOK HERE to come on our trip to Dark MOFO

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Interview With Bryon Merzeo

Bryon Merzeo

Bryon Merzeo

Art, travel and culture enthusiast Bryon Merzeo has been taking like-minded groups of travellers to Hobart to experience Dark MOFO for the past two years, and has been attending the festival for even longer. Now a seasoned festival-goer, with an eye for great art, food and wine as well as an infectious enthusiasm, he is the perfect person to have on hand to navigate the weird and wonderful world of Dark MOFO.

We caught up with Bryon to get a sneak preview of his plans for this years trip.

What made you decide to run the Dark Mofo tours?
For the past two years I've organized and hosted groups down to Hobart and everyone has such a great time, including me! Having met Emilya [the founder and director of Culture Scouts] and sharing our passion for MONA and unique culture events, I think that this is an excellent opportunity for Culture Scouts to explore a new and fascinating festival and city.

What is have been the highlights of Dark Mofo for the past few years you've been going?
Hobart comes alive for the festival, with large scale and free events happening all the time.  The Winter Feas must be my favourite, where dozens of local artisan food and beverage suppliers come together and create a dazzling array to sample, along with MONA's touch of art and music as a backdrop.

Is there anything that you are particularly looking forward to this year?
With the opening of Hobart Brewing company right next to Dark Park, and their outdoor fire pits in the winter, I can't wait to try their seasonal brews before exploring the art.

There is an option to extend the trip, and spend a couple of days road tripping around rural Tasmania. What parts of that are you most excited about?
The road trip from Launceston to Hobart will be exceptional. I tested this out last year with a small group, and it was a real highlight.  We will visit Iron House Brewery and spend the night in their ocean side villas (I must like craft breweries!) and then bushwalk at Wineglass bay before a lunch at Devil’s Corner vineyard with fresh oysters.  It's a brilliant way to see the real Tasmania, before arriving in Hobart for the festival.

BOOK HERE to come on our trip to Dark MOFO

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Interview With Art Month

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Interview With Art Month

For the duration of March, Art Month Sydney casts the spotlight on Sydney's contemporary galleries, art and artists through a diverse, and always thought-provoking program of exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions, artists studio visits, tours, precinct nights and more.

As we prepare for the exciting, art filled month ahead we caught up with Program Director, Samantha Watson-Wood and Festival Manager, Mary Wenholz to discuss how the festival comes together, their tips for enjoying Art Month, Sydney's contemporary art scene and more!

Samantha Watson-Wood, Program Director

Samantha Watson-Wood, Program Director

Mary Wenholz, Festival Manager

Mary Wenholz, Festival Manager

As the Festival Manager and Program Director of Art Month Sydney, what do your respective roles entail?
Sam: As Program Director, I oversee the program and develop content. I work with partners on creative activations and curate the Art Bars in collaboration with the Artistic Director, Barry Keldoulis.
Mary: As Festival manager, I look after the event management, working closely with the City of Sydney and the galleries to ensure a smooth running event.

What is the best part of your job? 
Sam: Working with artists to create an immersive experience in interesting spaces for Sydney’s event goers.
Mary: Contributing to Sydney’s creative economy

What made you want to become involved with Art Month?
While this is only the second edition of the festival that we have produced, the team here at Art Fairs Australia have all been huge fans of Art Month for years and loved attending the festival each March. We see Art Month as an important cultural event for Sydney siders as it gives contemporary art the spotlight for the duration of the festival. It was exciting when we got the chance to actually put an Art Month festival together in 2016 and we are really excited about what the 2017 festival has in store for everyone.

Do you have a particular event, or exhibition that you are most excited about?
All of the galleries have put together an amazing program of exhibitions, it’s hard to pick just one! Our hot tip is to grab some friends each Wednesday for the Art at Night events, it’s a great way to discover new galleries and artists in Sydney’s different precincts, before finishing the evening at the Art Bar by Cake Wines for an evening of art, performances and all round fun.

What is your advice to someone who is planning their Art Month schedule?
The Art Month website is your gateway to a world of art and creativity this March. You can either peruse the program via the calendar, selecting a particular date to see what is happening. Alternatively, pick one of the program categories and see just how much Sydney has to offer! Make sure you sign up to the Art Month e-newsletter, via our website, for your weekly hit of program highlights. With so much happening as part of the festival, make sure you get planning now.

You have both worked extensively in the arts overseas, how does Sydney compare? What is your favourite part about the arts and culture in Sydney?
Sam: It is a harder process getting creative pursuits up and running in Sydney but it is worth the effort. Sydney’s art scene although smaller is at an international standard with practitioners making challenging and interesting work. Events like Art Month are important to showcase this and year after year prove there is a hungry audience for it.
Mary: Sydney stands up as a leading cultural global city and I think that the Sydney artists operate with a freshness and a level of enthusiasm that is uniquely Australian.

Book now for Culture Scouts exclusive Art Month tours by clicking here.

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Wellington St. Projects

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Wellington St. Projects

Since 2013, Artists Genevieve Felix Reynolds and Belem Lett and a band of volunteers have co-ordinated to turn a converted warehouse into an alternative gallery for emerging Australian artists to make their splash.

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Chee Soon & Fitzgerald

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Chee Soon & Fitzgerald

Culture Scouts sat down with design duo Casey Chee Soon and Bryan Fitzgerald to talk all things twentieth-century textiles and decorative arts at Chee Soon & Fitzgerald Redfern! 

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Seasonal Concepts Redfern

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Seasonal Concepts Redfern

We sat down with Ken Wallis from Seasonal Concepts Redfern, one of our favourite stops on our Chipper-Red Tour, to chat all about the ethos of his beautiful and unique space...

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Outdoors Indoors

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Outdoors Indoors

While Culture Scouts are conducting tours of outdoor galleries of street art, a number of commercial galleries are now showcasing works by street artists who initially discovered the enjoyment of art by tagging walls, painting train carriages or doing stickers and pasteups. 

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CS x ATE16

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CS x ATE16

The Culture Scouts team had a fantastic time in the Gold Coast last weekend for the ATE with Tourism Australia. 

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