From the beginning to now, WPCC turns 10

READY TO CELEBRATE: Western Plains Cultural Centre staff Kent Buchanan, Jessica Moore, Karen Hagan, Andrew Glassop and Emma Remond preparing for an exciting weekend. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
READY TO CELEBRATE: Western Plains Cultural Centre staff Kent Buchanan, Jessica Moore, Karen Hagan, Andrew Glassop and Emma Remond preparing for an exciting weekend. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Ten years ago Western Plains Cultural Centre opened in Dubbo.

Since then, more than 750,000 people have walked through the WPCC’s doors, about 280 exhibits have been on display and thousands of groups have made use of the Community Arts Centre.

The biggest change of the WPCC was how it had become increasingly more connected to the the people of Dubbo, manager Andrew Glassop said.

It was no longer simply a place that “puts things up for the community”, Mr Glassop said, but provided spaces and opportunities for people to make use of the centre.

“We’re reaching out into all different parts of the society and saying ‘what do you want to do? how can we help you to do that?’ rather than imparting culture from on top of the pedestal,” Mr Glassop said.

And the result was a greater number of people coming through the doors, he said.

“Dubbo was well-know and rightly so for being like a sporting town, where everyone was into sport- and it still is there are still a great number of really great sports people coming out of Dubbo- but we’re now providing, not an alternative, but a complementary way of life. We’re offering a much fuller and richer experience for people from the central west, saying there’s more to the town, we’re not a one-dimensional town.”

The connection with local groups was something the manager said he would like to see expanded in the next ten years. Mr Glassop said he would like to see Dubbo’s One Eye Film Festival or the Outback Writers be able to tour, and showcase the city.

Mr Glassop said he also wanted the WPCC to concentrate less of other artists’ touring shows and more on the centre’s own collection of art. There was a chance to show visitors and locals alike what people were thinking in the city at a moment in time, he said.

When the WPCC was first established, it was rare to house a gallery and a museum under the one roof with the one staff, Mr Glassop said, which allowed the gallery to be “dynamic and reactive and proactive to what’s happening”.

“We pride ourselves that when someone says can we do this, our initial reaction is ‘of course we can’ and then we’ll sit back and we’ll go, ‘but we don’t know how so let’s talk about that’. And that makes it interesting,” he said.

The manager said none of the staff were sitting on their laurels thinking ‘yay, we’ve succeeded’.

“The nature of our team that we’ve got here is that we’re always looking to do something new, to try a new approach, to bring in new things that haven’t been seen before to try approaches that haven’t been made before, “ Mr Glassop said.

The WPCC was opened in February 2007.

Day full of activity

The Western Plains Cultural Centre (WPCC) is turning ten this year, and the community is invited on Saturday to celebrate.

WPCC manager Andrew Glassop said from 4pm onwards people could get involved with a huge array of family activities.

“This includes the handmade art markets, hands-on activities, entertainment by Pooka the Clown and kid-friendly art and museum tours,” he said.

“There’s also face painting, art drop-ins and music and food. You can even be in the audience for the very first performance of the Blacdk Box Creatives, Dubbo’s newest youth theatre group.”

From 6pm there will be live music from some of Dubbo’s premiere talent, the best of the One Eye Film Festival from the Dubbo short film makers, a chance to get your hands dirty on a cooperative art piece, short and sharp art gallery tours and spoken word pieces from the Outback Writers.

Food and wine will be available for purchase, as well as special WPCC commemorative craft beer.