Case Studies A Different Kind of Wondering | RAF Case Study (2021)


Artist Julia Higgs invited the community of Bowen in Queensland to experience a normal day a little differently.

This project invited the community of Bowen, Queensland to experience a normal day a little differently, through the visual arts. Five different, wearable, sculptural creatures were created in wire, papier-mâché and second-hand fabrics and were worn by five different people. The creatures traveled around Bowen and interacted with people at various locations on June 12, 2021. The creatures did things at site-specific places like hanging out at Horseshoe Bay, going to the park, and walking down the main street. People came up to the wearable creatures with intrigue and delight. They were excited to see the wearable creatures in a familiar place. The creatures were bright, flamboyant and moving, and this attracted much attention. This project aimed to add fun, spontaneity, play and curiosity in Bowen through the arts and performance.

Julia Higgs is a Quick Response Grant Recipient, via the Regional Arts Fund as managed by Flying Arts Alliance QLD.

This project improved the quality of life of the community by creating a performative work in a public space. It enriched the emotional health of the community by creating play, laughter, pleasure and stimulation. It improved social health as people gathered, smiled and exclaimed their excitement, allowing people to interpret and interact with art and the world and the moment in which they’re in. It used common public spaces to connect people together in a fun and engaging manner. By using and presenting this work in public spaces it fostered and strengthened the town’s identity, celebrates place, and ignites community imagination through the arts. A Different Kind of Wondering brought art to familiar spaces, engaged in community connection, people and place, and allowed for a new type of experience in a regional town.

"When we paraded onto the beach at Horseshoe bay in Bowen, people stopped what they were doing to watch, to come over and to express their excitement, delight and interest. People smiled, took selfies with the wearable sculptures and followed them as they paraded around.

It was an ecstatic feeling to present my work in public and to receive welcoming and positive feedback from the local community, who enjoyed my wearable sculptures being a part of the public space. This project ignites a passion to continue to make art that engages with the community.

I learnt that taking work into the public domain is worth the risk and vulnerability it poses as an artist." – Julia Higgs, grant recipient.

Impacts:

  • This project created a transformative experience in a familiar setting and a greater access and exposure to the arts in a regional town of 10,000 people
  • This project developed a new audience and receptive audience in the Bowen community
  • The grant recipient Julia Higgs developed her skills in costume making, sewing, and pushing the potentials of the use of papier-mâché in sculptural practice to make wearable costumes. Through this grant the artist was able to expand her performance arts sculptural practice.

Applicant location: Bowen QLD

Project location: Bowen QLD

Amount of RAF Support: $1,600

Total project cost: $7369

Flying-Arts-Alliance-Inc
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A Different Kind of Wondering, photo by Mitchell Higgs