The Art of Splendour: Craig Walsh on the SITG 2017 Arts Program

While thousands prepare for this weekend’s festival, SITG’s Craig Walsh is installing works for the 600-acre outdoor gallery that will be the 2017 Splendour Arts presentation.

“I think it is important that current contemporary visual art is represented alongside current contemporary music and the mash of these art forms provides a full sensory experience for the Splendour In The Grass festival–goer,” says Walsh, SITG's visual arts manager. “We also provide the opportunity for artists to share their work with 30,000 odd punters, an audience unattainable in most other venues for art.”

Gateway  by Sam Songailo

Gateway by Sam Songailo

What was the most prominent concept behind this year’s Splendour in the Grass Arts presentation?

"I like to work with Contemporary artists who have an interest in working outside traditional art sites. Each artist defines the direction and concept they would like to pursue and we collectively discuss and develop these ideas. We don’t define a curatorial rationale for each festival but rather allow the freedom for artists to respond to this environment the way they see fit. Creating a work that is responsive to the site and the audience are key considerations. Second to that is to create diversity across the art program, so that there are multiple experiences and forms of engagement." 

What are you aiming for festival-goers to experience?

"An unexpected event which can only happen in this environment expanding the overall Splendour in the Grass experience. In many ways, it is the perfect environment to surprise and seduce the punter into contemplating an experience they never expected."

Arch Tunnel Response  by Ash Keating

Arch Tunnel Response by Ash Keating

Who are the artists that will be involved/performing/presenting?

"We have been fortunate to work with many of the most innovative artists in Australia and beyond, artist who embrace the challenge of working in these environments. From longterm local contributors like Andy Forbes to major contemporary artists like Patricia Piccinini, Shawn Gladwell, Bennett Miller, Sam Songailo, Cool Shit and many many more. Diversity of art forms is something we embrace and everything from performance to installation, sculpture, live art, video art, and painting fill the history of our art program."

Is this the first of this kind of project that you have directed?

"I have been the visual arts manager for 16 years. The program and geographical reach has evolved over that time, as initially it was all local artists and much smaller projects. One thing that is unique and specific about the Splendor arts program is almost all works are new, commissioned projects and works developed by contemporary artists."

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