The Olive Arts Collective experienced both consolidation and expansion in the 2017. We define ourselves as a group of artists with passion and focus on community, creativity and care. Our two lead artists Geoff Falk and Phil Kreveld support us by making art and facilitating our individual and collective artistic journeys. Alongside are three dedicated volunteers from the BUC ARTS committee (Ann Soo, Leanne Salau and Tim Hoffmann) holding the space so that creativity and originality can flourish. It means setting up the room, providing materials, infecting art making and stirring up a contagion of care. Making sure that everyone has a cuppa, a bite from the Olive Way and a warm welcome anchors this open group every Wednesday between 10am and 12noon. The conversations stimulate, the silences speak focus, hands express creativity and connections deepen in this context.

Our ‘What is Creativity ‘exhibition in October 2017 showcased some wonderfully authentic voices in art and the display can still be enjoyed in The Olive Way. We are looking forward to The Brunswick Studio Walk (24th February) when the space will be open to reflect our values and invite visitors to have an experience of our group through witnessing the work, demonstrations, listening to poetry and shown hospitality in The Olive Way. There is much excitement to be part of this wider community event and showing God’s love as a missional church.

The Olive Arts Collective works comfortably with Arts Access Victoria, thanks to clear communication and recognising the difference in goals for their Artstop programme. Their main aim is to develop and promote professional artists as individuals. This gives opportunity for the artists to move in this direction during two 12 – week blocks in the year. George Akl and Ellie Purseglove are the lead artists and Leanne Salau, our BUC liaison hold the space and foster this energy within the group. We look forward to their continued involvement having signed a new memorandum of understanding with their new manager Ozlem Kesik and to work alongside each other in offering a space for art and connection every week except for Easter and Christmas breaks. This consistency is reaping enormous benefits in productivity and a continuity that is about community building and support.

In conclusion our thanks to all in our BUC community for recognising the significance of this programme, appreciating the art and donating in many different ways.

It keeps us buoyed, supported and reminded that creativity speaks, affects and unites us all.

Ann Soo ( Convenor BUC ARTS and The Olive Arts Collective)