Cited was the June issue of the ABC's Limelight, an independent fine music and arts magazine. “Neither NSW nor Victoria, despite being blessed with Australia's busiest arts metropolises, have particularly high participation rates in the arts per capita.''
Limelight’s emphasis on the contrast continued: “Tasmania has the highest per capita rate of people working in the arts sector and attending arts events, based on figures provided by the Australia Council compiled before the Museum of Old and New Art was opened last year.” (www.smh.com.au)
Well-Being Australia chairman Mark Tronson who is familiar with the arts communities around the nation could not agree more than with Katherine Hough the Director of Arts Tasmania, who said: “The Apple Isle had a strong tradition of local community art.”
In 2004 it was Mark Tronson who established the largest regional and rural private art prize in Australia, the Basil Sellers $15,000 Art Prize in Moruya. This is an artistic town on the south coast of New South Wales. This was one year after the Basil Sellers Art Centre was opened in Moruya. In 2005 the Basil Sellers Tweed Art Studio was established.
Mr Basil Sellers AM has since established the Basil Sellers Sport-Art $100,000 Prize in Melbourne at the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne.
Mark and Delma Tronson who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years to 2000 and then established Life After Cricket in 2001 regularly travel across the nation on Country Town Tours where they survey and link in to the local art communities.
Country Town Tours
Country Town Tours are visits to regional and rural Australia with a select team of coaches and elite athletes who are Christians and are hosted by the local Christian communities where they engage in coaching clinics, sports dinners, men’s breakfasts, youth groups and the like, promoting role models for young people.
One of the bee lines Mark Tronson makes is to the local art galleries and the artistic communities. He connects with them and in conversation discovers their aims, philosophy, needs, marketing principles, the number of exhibitions, and who buys their art.
His art researches have proven to be a surprising delight. Much art is produced and sold regardless of where they visit across Australia. Aboriginal art for example, is produced and sold right across the nation, this is not only a Northern Territory proviso.
New models of art display
Mark Tronson says the fastest expanding area of art display across Australia is the art gallery 'cleverly disguised' as a travellers cuppa stop, not quiet fast food, come restaurant, come local art exhibition.
In January, Mark and Delma Tronson were on a Country Town Tour to Tasmania and every stop they made, was to one of these multi-purpose art and travellers cuppa places. He concurs with Katherine Hough the Director of Arts Tasmania, “The Apple Isle had a strong tradition of local community art.”
In May they were on another Country Town Tour and visited Grafton and the artistic centre of South Grafton. The shopping centre has grown into an arts community commune. Several of the galleries with shop fronts have art in their windows and the sign reads to ring for an appointment or open at certain times. This in Mark Tronson’s view illustrates a confident and progressive arts community at one with itself and looking forward to even greater strides.
Recently in Tweed Heads – Coolangatta (lower Gold Coast – NSW Qld border) he met a recently retired gentleman whose aim is to put his retirement nest egg into such an 'art' shop space in that coastal strip. He just as yet, not found the perfect location with the right intuition that will bring it all together. His vision remains.
Regional and rural art in Australia says Mark Tronson is pleasing to the eye, fulfilling to the artisans and obviously to the wallet of the many buyers of art.
His Country Town Tours over these many years has bought a different kind of light into the hearts and minds of those he meets with the joy of the Lord.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html