Local artist sets his sight on community art hub

WEST Hobart artist Damian Smith has one very specific goal for 2018 – to open his very own art hub in the heart of the Huon Valley.

The art hub would see Mr Smith – who has 15 years’ experience as a professional artist, project manager and teacher – offer a range of classes, demonstrations and community arts projects.

Mr Smith said his main goal was to increase access to the arts in the greater Hobart region.

“I’ve always been an artist at heart, but I’m also passionate about teaching and connecting with the community,” he said.

“I have found that there is a big demand for this type of service in the area as most art classes in Tasmania are very specific in what they offer.

“My goal is to create a space where anyone can have a go and the Huon Valley certainly has the right formula of creative, business and tourism for the idea to take off.”

Starting off in a mobile capacity until a permanent space can be found, the art hub will offer a range of beginner to experienced classes covering areas including painting without brushes, drawing with colour pencils, oil painting and modern calligraphy.

It will also offer a space for after-school art sessions where local students can get involved with group projects and receive mentoring from established artists.

“It will also be a great way for people who receive national disability services to get involved in the community while also developing buildable skills,” Mr Smith said.

“I also see it as a great social activity for local retirees who have never thought about trying their hand at art.

“I think this definitely has the capacity to appeal to a wide audience and I’m very excited about the concept of a ‘drink and draw’ class, where people can have at go at some art while enjoying food and drinks with friends.”

But this is just the beginning for Mr Smith, who envisions the hub to one day include a café and gallery wall.

“I see the space as a creative melting pot where locals can support each other, enjoy a bite to eat while getting involved in some social art making and have the opportunity to display their works for sale,” he said.

Mr Smith has launched a “Go Fund Me” page to raise funds for the purchase of a regular space, furniture and art supplies.

The campaign is currently accepting donations and offering rewards over set amounts, which include pre-booking an art class, portraits and an opportunity to support the art hub as a corporate sponsor.

Mr Smith is calling for expressions of interest from businesses, organisations and community members wishing to get involved.

For more information or to make a donation, visit www.gofundme.com/arthub or www.damiansart.com.

Caption: West Hobart artist Damian Smith is seeking to gain support for the creation of a community art hub.