Saturday, July 30, 2011

it's official, burrinja open for arts

It's been a big weekend for the arts community in the Dandenong Ranges. It was wonderful to join with my colleagues to celebrate this monumental night.

Pictured left to right: Cr's Noel Cliff, Samantha Dunn, Terry Avery (Mayor) and Jeanette McRae.

Friday night saw the official civic opening of the Burrinja performing arts theatre. A grand night, attendees were treated to an amazing performance by Deborah Cheetham and the Short Black Opera including Tiriki Onus.

It was full circle for Burrinja, it's name taken from Lin Onus' Yorta Yorta name meaning Little Star, it was wonderful to hear his son Tiriki sing in his beautiful bass baritone voice.

Many, many community members are responsible for the success of Burrinja, current president of the Committee of Management, Louis Delacretaz and his wife, were there to represent the efforts of many.

Neil McLeod, local artist, was part of the celebrations. Neil's generous gift to the people of the Shire of Yarra Ranges, comprises an exquisite collection of over 300 Aboriginal paintings, Oceanic works from New Ireland and New Britain PNG, drawings, artifacts and photographic slides. We are fortunate to have such works and as a consequence Yarra Ranges has one of the best municipal collections of indigenous art in the country.

There are many people who've played a key role in the journey of Burrinja, from the community who galvanised to save the Shire of Sherbrooke offices as early as 1994, through to the local councillors who continually advocated on behalf of the Dandenong Ranges to ensure unanimous support of council for the project to proceed, the local state member to ensure a financial contribution and the local federal member who filled a desperately needed funding shortfall.

It's been a great collaboration by community and all three tiers of government and I look forward to seeing Burrinja go from strength to strength as a premium performing arts venue in the Dandenongs.

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