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About the SALA Festival The South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival is the largest visual arts festival in Australia. It brings Australian art to the community at unconventional venues such as shops, offices and pubs in addition to more traditional studios and art galleries all about South Australia. And it is free!
The SALA Festival is inclusive by encouraging all visual art forms - from photography and painting through to sculpture, video and mixed media. It also caters for varying levels of artist experience - amateur, emerging, established and mixed. However it seems that street art as found at Vacant Space doesn't yet come under the inclusive umbrella.
The widespread appeal of the festival is demonstrated by the vast variety and number of entrants, nearly 5000 artists are taking part this year in around 500 exhibitions and events.
For those of us who live in Adelaide but don't normally interact a lot with the art world, there are innovative walking, cycling and bus tours to help tease us out of our comfort zones to explore the universe of visual arts. Learn more about the tours here, but note that some (such as the Aboriginal art tour and the art gallery tour) levy a charge to cover transport costs.
Nearly all tours require reservations, so book early to avoid disappointment.
How is SALA Structured? The first weekend of the Festival is largely taken up with opening events. There's talk of artists fusing and exposing art to the community, which brings lurid images to my corrupted mind after reading London Time Out magazine for a few years.
Will the opening nights tempt you with the usual trays of carefully crafted canapes, washed down with fine imported champagnes? Are they full of fresh young faces wearing trendy designer clothes, making me regret arriving unshaven in tracky pants and bogan check shirt?
Possibly not! But you may need to attend a couple of the events to find out.
The program is available online here, and a printed copy was included with the Advertiser on Saturday July 6. If you're so retro that you must have a printed copy, it will also be available at registered venues about South Australia, or try your local art gallery.
On the second weekend of the Festival many South Australian artists are inviting you to join them in Open Studios to learn more about how and where they work.
The third weekend brings the fusion of SALA with Word Adelaide, a new festival in Australia celebrating our living language.
On the final weekend the huge closing event is SALA on Show in the Unley Shopping Centre car park and adjacent Memorial Gardens. It's a an opportunity to buy some of the South Australian art featured during the festival, watch artists' demonstrations and classes, and enjoy live entertainment in a carnival atmosphere.
Why Does the Term 'Emerging Artist' Make Me Think of a Butterfly?
I'm afraid that a happy snapper such as I am is not qualified to give any guidance on contemporary art, art in Australia or even which art gallery to visit during the festival.
The best advice that I can offer is to book early for any event that needs reservations, as with so many local artists participating there will be huge community interest.
As a hobby photographer I do have an appreciation of other people's work, and I will definitely be taking a look at Different Spokes. It showcases work from seven South Australian artists including photographer/architect Wayne Grivell, winner of the 2013 SALA Atkins Technicolour Photographic Award.
Wayne's ability to capture moody late night imagery of deserted places about Adelaide frequently delights me on Facebook. There can't be much money in photography sales, but Wayne still generously shares the fruits of his labours around to a faithful following.
As far as other artists go, I am looking forward to explanding my negligible knowledge. I haven't previously been a regular visitor to any art gallery, but the online SALA program makes it incredibly easy. Narrow the enormous range down to whatever you want to see by choosing topics such as contemporary art or aboriginal art - you can even search by location or medium.
Thanks David for mentioning my wildlife photography/ I have two exhibitions in SALA - one a Cleland (the Aussie stuff) and the other at Hindmarsh Lib (Africa / Asia Wildlife).... anyway, SALA is great and there is so much to see. You just need to get out there and enjoy the talent SA has to offer