On the Arcadia art trail

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the Arcadia art trail

In the UK a summer tourist attraction may well be an art trail. These usually cover a number of different locations and the trail can be open for a month or more. Visiting them usually means that you are there with just a handful of other people even on a weekend. The artist, potter, jeweller, glassblower, sculptor, textile worker, printmaker, woodworker or whatever is usually there,

often working away on their next project.

In Australia recently I was invited to go on an art trail in the small NSW town of Arcadia which is located about thirty miles north-west of Sydney.

For a start the art trail was concentrated on just eight locations in Arcadia and three nearby towns including one with the intriguing name of Fiddletown. Unlike our art trails, this one was being held over a solitary weekend in early November. November is spring in Australia so the jacaranda, bougainvillea and tibouchina are all in flower making driving along the narrow roads to find these locations an appealing one.

At the eight locations there were just under fifty artists displaying and selling their works. Some locations were almost in afield with barns and shacks hosting the works and some were grand houses where rooms and outdoor patios had been pressed into service as galleries. If, nothing else, it enabled you to see some of the more elegant houses in the area!

one of Melanie Jai’s paintings on sale at the trail

What surprised me was the vast numbers of people who had taken time out from the weekends to venture into a hot sun to visit this trail. Whereas before I mentioned handfuls of people in some of the British trails I has seen, here were dozens and hundreds of people. The length of cars parked on the roads outside made it necessary to walk a couple of hundred yards to the venue. Inside, queues often formed in order to walk past some exhibits. A number had red dots affixed to them indicating they had already been sold and prices weren’t necessarily bargain basement ones either!

I managed just two of the eight trails seeing just thirteen of the exhibitors. And that took me over a couple of hours despite the fact that they were fairly close together. To visit all eight would have taken all day if nor a day and a half.

For a different day out in Sydney, travelling out of the city provides a different view of Australia and you don’t have to travel too far to see that difference. Like Arcadia and the rural area. Unfortunately this is not a place you can visit using public transport and walking between the sites. Only those with car will be able to make the journey!

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