by Lara Scolari

From a young age, Lara Scolari fell in love with painting. Now after making an impression on the Central West with her vibrant artworks, she is off to leave her mark on Sydney after being awarded the opportunity to partake in the Ashfield Council Artist in Residence Program.

The program is a unique initiative where Ashfield Council hosts a practicing artist for a residency at the historic Thirning Villa in Pratten Park. Lara will travel to Sydney for four months later this year to take up the residency where she will engage with the community and help enhance their cultural environment. This will be easy for our local artist as she is known around town for her bubbly personality and ability to work with people to improve their art-making. 

“I was really surprised when I got it because it’s such a tough call. At the moment there is a lady from China there so it’s not just Australia, it is also international.”

Lara also offered something unique in her application which caught the eye of the judges. Through her work as acting education and public programmes officer at Western Plains Cultural Centre, she built up a wide array of skills including a passion for curating. 

“I think they saw my expertise in particularly my curatorial experience and my experience working with the community,” she said of the offer. 

While she’s in Sydney, Lara hopes to put together an exhibition to showcase the past artists in residence. 

“The council have been running the program for a long time but no one has actually seen their works because they don’t have anywhere to display it. I think they didn’t just choose me for my body of work which I will be creating but for what I will be able to give them during the whole process,” she explained. 

This opportunity is a dream come true for Lara and she is looking forward to focusing entirely on her visual arts practice and art career within the framework of the Sydney art scene. She explained how the journey to focusing on her art has been long and hasn’t been without its difficulties but it has always been worth it. 

“I’ve never stopped with my art practice. As an artist, you are always doing your art. It never goes away, it may rest for a while but it always comes back. Being an artist is the ultimate career,” she said. 

Lara plans to continue with her theme of human relationships with her body of work but is also going to push the boundaries with her art-making practice as she explores traditional forms such as portraiture. 

“I’m looking forward to just making artwork. I can’t wait to just hook into it because I’m pretty full on with my energy. With my other shows I always had complete focus just on them and that is the beauty of the residency because there are no other interruptions.

“It is totally about just making art for four months.”


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