Arts Margaret River icon Heather Locke calling for submissions to celebrate group’s 50th birthday

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Arts maven Heather Locke is seeking community help to celebrate Arts Margaret River's 50th.
Camera IconArts maven Heather Locke is seeking community help to celebrate Arts Margaret River's 50th. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Local community arts icon Heather Locke is calling on all past and present volunteers to help prepare for Arts Margaret River’s 50th birthday celebrations.

As part of the 2024 milestone, the former Arts Margaret River president, who was awarded an Order of Australia medal for her service to the arts, will create a compendium of the volunteer group’s history.

She told the Times she wanted to record the history of the group as much to celebrate its achievements as honour the hundreds of volunteers who’ve given up their time since the organisation’s humble origins in the early 1970s.

“As Arts Margaret River approaches its 50th birthday, it has been suggested I write the history of this organisation of which I am a life member,” she said.

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“I would rather tell of the ‘connections’ we all share.

“My research needs to be accurate and I’m afraid we are all in for some forensic digging.”

She urged past and present members to search their archives as well as their memories to honour the arts group and its influence and contribution to life in the region.

Arts Margaret River has a long and storied role in the local creative scene, without which the region’s appeal as a destination for working artists and major festivals such as the Margaret River Region Open Studios would not be possible.

Last year, the Times reported another former president, Anne Shepherdson, was also honoured with an OAM for her services to the sector.

Residents like Mrs Shepherdson banded together to form the Margaret River Arts Council which eventually grew in scope to a management body of the old Cultural Centre before establishing itself last decade with a professional board supporting the centre’s redevelopment into the Margaret River Heart.

Arts Margaret River manager Michelle Wright encouraged everyone with a story to tell to get involved.

“The stories of our community are important and we encourage anyone that would like to contribute to contact Heather directly,” she said.

“It is wonderful to be able to record the rich artistic tapestry that we have been creating in regional WA for almost 50 years.

“Planning for our 50th year will commence in early 2023, with community celebrations during 2024.”

Mrs Locke said stories from the early days were especially welcome, with 20,000 words in research already set down.

She was particularly keen on more photographs and quirky stories.

“This book will be published in 2024 and will be my 50th birthday present to Arts Margaret River which they can sell to raise funds,” Mrs Locke said.

“Please dig into your memories, old photo albums and the boxes in your back shed.”

To get involved, contact heatherarts@bigpond.com.

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