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How I created an International Arts Festival

In this blog, BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Jillian Ballas tells us about how she conceived the idea to create her own International Arts Festival: the Natural Resonance Festival, inspired by the environmental art movement.

Jillian talks us through how she organised the virtual festival and how they promoted the event.

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How it started: what inspired you to create the Natural Resonance Festival? 

Like everything, projects like these are the accumulation of a series of events, with one leading to the next. During my time at NUA, I focused primarily on the environmental art movement, creating artwork and group exhibitions at every chance I got. It was one of these exhibitions, Green Dreams, that would lead me to meeting Alise Kirtley of The Bearing and would result in the eventual creation of the Natural Resonance Festival. Fast forward to the Summer of 2022, through Zoom meetings with Alise and music duo Planetudes that the Natural Resonance Festival was born. 

How did you get the project going? 

Initially, like with most passion projects, the festival started with a long brainstorming session allowing us to reach the edges of our imagination. After creating this verbal collage of shared ideas, we started taking notes and putting it down on paper. It was through this process, that we could start to discern and compare the potency of ideas and assign tasks to each other. This included looking into the technical logistics of what a virtual festival could look like, piecing together the overall aesthetic of the festival, writing a mission statement, and reaching out to our networks to start building interest in the event. 

“During my time at NUA, I focused primarily on the environmental art movement, creating artwork and group exhibitions at every chance I got. “

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Tell us about the artists, musicians and creatives you collaborated with and how you worked together. 

Every single time an artist or musician sent us their work, it was like Christmas morning. By the end of the selection process, we had a diverse range of creatives who represented the global community of art makers and nature lovers. Leading up the event, I stayed in contact with our creatives through email and Zoom, introducing the festival, answering questions, and brainstorming ideas. By the end of the event, I feel that I truly got to know every single maker who took part, and am thrilled that I have had the opportunity to help foster a global community of kindred-spirits. 

How did you promote your event? 

As this was our debut year, the promotion of this festival was based heavily on word of mouth and social media- namely Instagram. It is because of this that we owe a huge thank you to our artists for promoting this event. Moving into our second year, we will be brainstorming additional promotional tactics to help spread the word for the 2023 festival. 

“Every single time an artist or musician sent us their work, it was like Christmas morning.”

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Tell us about the final outcome- how did it go? 

If I am being completely honest, I was beyond surprised by the final outcome of the Natural Resonance Festival. When you spend months and months pouring your heart and soul into a project, convincing other people to share in your dream, there is always a moment where you are unsure how the public will respond. Well, let me tell you — all of the hard work paid off! The final product and the feedback we received was beyond all our wildest expectations. 

Why is the environment such an important part of your practice and the Natural Resonance Festival? 

Since as long as I have been creating art, the environment has been at the core of everything I do; it is something that is instinctual to my creative process. This instinct toward creating works about nature led me on the path of meeting other like-minded individuals, and I believe that it is this community that is at the very centre of the Natural Resonance Festival

“Since as long as I have been creating art, the environment has been at the core of everything I do; it is something that is instinctual to my creative process. “

What’s next for the festival and how can others get involved?

With the overwhelming support we have received, we will be hosting another Natural Resonance Festival in January 2023. We welcome creatives from all backgrounds and mediums to apply. You can follow us on Instagram at @naturalresonancefestival or visit www.naturalresonancefestival.com to stay up to date with what we are doing and when applications open. 

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