Shacking up with artists

• Artists get ready for the SHACtivate festival in White Gum Valley. Photo supplied

New festival debuts in Fremantle

SUSTAINABLE Housing for Artists and Creatives will hold their debut festival in White Gum Valley later this month.

After becoming sick of Fremantle’s high rents a few years back local artists got together and decided to set up their own community.

When the social housing cum art space SHAC Fremantle opened 18 months ago in White Gum Valley, it was the first of its kind in Australia and one of a handful world wide.

“It’s now possible for artists to remain living and working in affordable, sustainable housing, which helps to secure Fremantle’s reputation as a center of creativity and the arts,” SHAC chair Koral Ward says.

Now the creative residents have settled in they are celebrating with SHACtivate, a three-weekend festival including art, music and puppetry.

Co-ordinating a group of diverse artists for the debut festival was a bit like herding cats, chair Koral Ward says.

“We got where we are going, even if where we are is not where we were going in the first place,” she says with a grin.

It’s a family affair, kicking off with a fusion of circus, yoga and art in Diva Dingo’s Hoopla Yoga.

“For children who want balance and flexibility…without the impact of competition,” according to the blurb.

Other events include a free family concert, roving entertainment, a Freo Love art workshop and food from Box Pizza.

The second weekend has a weaving class (using unorthodox materials), a men’s vintage vinyl and photography group, and sound installations and street art by emerging young creatives.

The final weekend will feature works by Noongar artists, along with dance and traditional storytelling.

As well as the artist’s homes, SHAC has two studios which can be hired by non-resident artists.

SHACtivate runs from May 18-June 2, with a mix of free and ticketed events. To see the full program go to


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