Quick chat with Jane Tavener
For those who don’t know you, could you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Since March 2020 I’ve been the acting General Manager as well as the Social Enterprise Coordinator for Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance, which also includes its commercial arm, the National Aboriginal Design Agency. I love the simple life with my family around me and lots of peace and quiet, but I keep getting involved in big creative projects! Last year I created Botanica as a fundraising event for my Heart and Soul Foundation, which was one of the best things I’ve ever made – apart from my daughters!
What are you passionate about – what gets you out of bed in the morning?
I love working and making a difference in the community, particularly the arts and cultural community. I feel incredibly lucky with the work I’m currently doing, where I get to work with creative people in projects that support our Aboriginal communities, and also vulnerable women in our community through the Heart and Soul Foundation projects. I am passionate about supporting the development of the Coffs Coast as a hub for really great, innovative and creative events.
What do you think is the value of supporting cultural and arts development in a place like Coffs Harbour?
Our area has an incredibly beautiful natural environment – people already want to come here, and culture and arts add value to that experience. If Coffs Harbour becomes an amazing creative hub, it will draw different kinds of people to attend our awesome film festivals or arts events. There is great value in supporting a really valuable industry which generates a lot of money in Australia, as well as nourishing our local Gumbaynggirr culture and artists. I think lockdown showed how important the arts are to all of us, with powerful positive effects on our health and wellbeing, as well as opportunities for business and tourism.
What would you say to the people who are worried about the project?
Right now, we don’t know what we don’t have. We have the cultural facilities that we have, and they’ve done really well considering their limitations, but it’s hard for the community to imagine the world class facilities we will have with this new purpose built facility. If you don’t know where Italy is you can never go there. We don’t really know where Italy is at the moment. I understand that people are worried about their rates and other issues, but I would like people to be open minded and let this be something incredibly wonderful for us.
What excites you about the Cultural and Civic Space project?
People have moved out of Coffs to live in other areas which have more arts and cultural opportunities, and this is our chance to have these kinds of opportunities right here, right now. There are a lot of people focusing on the regions now because of the pandemic – how exciting for us that Coffs is creating a really vibrant and creative arts community at this time