CREATIVE AND ARTISTIC: Central Highlands Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee member Mellissa Chick works on a craft project.
CREATIVE AND ARTISTIC: Central Highlands Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee member Mellissa Chick works on a craft project. Contributed

Meet the woman helping to reshape the future of art out west

WITH colourful ideas and a splash of optimism, Mellissa Chick is one step closer to reshaping the future of art in the Central Highlands.

The Emerald schoolteacher, who has lived in the Central Highlands for most of her life, is one of two new members welcomed into the Central Highlands arts and advisory committee.

Ms Chick described herself as a "very creative and artistic person” who had dabbled in one craft or another.

Mellissa Chick awards a student for his efforts.
Photo Rebekah Yelland / CQ News
Ms Chick, an Emerald schoolteacher, awards a student for his efforts in placing first. Rebekah Yelland

"From beads, silver smithing and making wearable art pieces to fabric and textiles,” she said.

Passionate about art in the Central Highlands, Ms Chick said there was so much diversity in the region that should be celebrated and shared.

"A lot of talented people live in our communities and I want to provide opportunities for these people to share their talents,” she said.

"Through my passion and interest, there is no better place to help than being part of a network promoting and enhancing art within our region.”

Now a member of the Central Highlands Arts and Advisory Committee, Ms Chick said she was excited to have the opportunity to bring new ideas to the group.

"CHACAC is a wonderful group and positive and focused committee,” she said.

"I'd like to be part of the promotion of benefits of arts. This means helping to increase the number of people who visit arts and culture events in our region.

"I'd like to see the Central Highlands recognised as a hub for art. To do this, we need to increase the amount of art, culture and heritage events and ensure they are inclusive and appealing to the wider community and visitors.

"I'd also like to see sustainability. We already do so many amazing things like grants for short courses, multicultural fair, etc, as a community group we need to continually build on and promote these events and opportunities.

"Lastly, my big focus would be to get an annual arts weekend. The idea is short courses which run for half a day, five sessions in total from Friday to Sunday afternoon. These courses are the vehicle to bring people together, socialising and offering an opportunity to learn a new skill, have fun and boost our mental health.”

When asked why arts, culture and heritage were so important to her, Ms Chick said it was because they were "like her compass”.

"In an ever busy, changing world we often make little, if any, time for ourselves,” she said.

"When I'm frazzled, unsure or lost, taking time out for my crafting makes me more settled, focused and realigned.

"Art is often not the end product but the journey - taking the time to learn a new skill, create something with your hands or just taking a breath from the chaos of life.

"It can be a tool for stress, rediscovery and time for your own wellbeing and mental health.

"Art is a feel good, learning to laugh at yourself when you paint an ugly picture or elation that you made an accurately sewn garment. It's fun and imperative to every one of us.”

Professor Anita Milroy was also welcomed into the committee.

Central Highlands Regional councillor and committee chair Gail Godwin-Smith congratulated the new members.

"We are excited to welcome Professor Anita Milroy and Mellissa Chick, two very capable people with a passion for the arts, culture and heritage, to the Central Highlands Arts and Cultural Advisory Committee,” Cr Godwin-Smith said.

"Their contributions will be greatly valued, and we cannot wait to hear their ideas.”

About the committee

The Central Highlands Arts and Advisory Committee is a council run committee to improve arts, culture and heritage activities in the region. It supports activities, events, festivals, provides input to council strategies and assists with project funding.