Join in ... with Bridge Arts

Di Dawson and Sue Foster invite you to tap into your artistic side in Murray Bridge.

“Join in” aims to promote community connections and wellbeing in the Murraylands – and it could promote your business, too. Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this weekly feature. Call Peri on 0419 827 124 or email murraybridgenews@gmail.com.

The opening of the Murray Bridge Studio Gallery on Railway Terrace was perhaps the crowning moment in the history of what was then called the Murray Bridge Regional Art Society.

But, in hindsight, the community group is in a better place now.

Perhaps not physically, though its studio in one of the old railway buildings near the Round House is perfect for the group’s workshops and art classes.

But the gallery proved to be more than its volunteers could handle, in terms of staffing a shop, ensuring regular turnover and paying the bills.

Now, with more than 30 members and 90 “friends”, the renamed Bridge Arts is growing once more, giving more locals an opportunity to get involved with the arts, according to Di Dawson and Sue Foster.

But it’s still on the lookout for exhibition spaces, if you know of anywhere…

When did you first get involved with Bridge Arts?

Sue: A lady used to do classes upstairs at the front of the (Murray Bridge) Town Hall: drawing in the morning, painting in the afternoon. That was the first time I’d done anything (artistic) in years and years. I really got enthusiastic and thought I’d like to do some proper lessons, so I went to Uni SA and did the visual arts course. I only had to do the fun stuff because I had prior credit – I had a masters in art history and experience in working with Aboriginal artists. It was about that stage that we opened the studio gallery, and in that time a core group built up.

Di: In the ‘90s I had a gallery of my own on Seventh Street, the Bunyip Art Gallery. I was managing Andersons (Solicitors) and I was lucky enough to be given rooms to use. I’d always been interested in art, doing classes at the WEA in Adelaide and muddling along in pottery. When I came on board with the Murray Bridge Regional Art Society, it was more from an admin perspective: exhibitions, marketing, selections.

What do you get out of your involvement?

Di: Camaraderie with people with like interests. We all get interested in art from different perspectives. We all discuss what we’re doing.

What is your fondest memory of your time with Bridge Arts?

Di: Seeing a new home found for (Bridge Arts). Also, the highlights are the exhibitions: organising them, being involved in them.

Sue: The years we ran the studio gallery were really good. It was a great space. It was a shame we couldn’t keep on doing that, having room for sales and that, but it was a great experience to have.

What do you spend your time doing with the group?

Sue: A bit of organising. There’s a lot of people who are looking for companionship. Doing some (art) work. A bit of talking. Di and I do exhibitions and workshops together.

What is your goal with Bridge Arts?

Sue: My goal would be to foster community art, as distict from high art, and to encourage members to develop their skills, which I take great pleasure in seeing happen.

Di: To foster that creativity in people. When you see some of the members who come here, they’re quite timid people–

Sue: But you see them develop.

Di: It’s no good bringing along a magazine and copying a Picasso. I say to people: find a style you like, take your own picture and paint it in that style you like. It’s amazing what people can achieve.

Why should people join Bridge Arts?

Sue: To develop their skills, to learn; to meet like-minded people, other artists; and to have an opportunity to exhibit their work if they wish.

Di: It’s therapy in one respect. Your mind is set on what you’re doing. It’s a great escape from the day-to-day.

  • More information: Search for Bridge Arts on Facebook.

“Join in” aims to promote community connections and wellbeing in the Murraylands – and it could promote your business, too. Murray Bridge News is seeking an ongoing sponsor for this weekly feature. Call Peri on 0419 827 124 or email murraybridgenews@gmail.com.


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