Flood or no flood, we got Artstate guernsey

18th May 2017 10:04 AM
Patrick Healey, General Manager of NORPA, in his makeshift office on the mezzanine of  City Hall in Lismore. Patrick Healey, General Manager of NORPA, in his makeshift office on the mezzanine of City Hall in Lismore. Sophie Moeller

JULIAN Louis, NORPA's artistic director, says it is the artist's job to imagine. Maybe this is why the company's general manager, Patrick Healey, looks so at home on the couch sitting on the mezzanine level of City Hall.

This is where he imagines his office to be since the flood forcably removed the NORPA team from its usual desk space.

As Julian reminded me when we met last week, it's not so much about things or spaces as it is the "human spirit”.

It is "the role of the creative arts in the fabric of the community to rally and celebrate and recover” that spirit.

And that was exactly what every body in the creative world of our city was doing last Thursday.

It could not have been a more delighted room when the head of Regional Arts NSW, Elizabeth Rogers, announced we had gotten the guernsey to host the inaugural Artstate to take place at the end of the year.

But there was nothing ephemeral about this development.

It was massive - and not just for the arts community.

What made it special was it had nothing to do with the flood (although it will obviously bring the city an extraordinary fillip), it was recognition of who we are: a beacon city for creativity and, frankly, the only place to be.