A FESTIVAL of all things art has high hopes of going ahead in Wagga later this year, should COVID-19 restrictions ease.
Artstate Wagga is planned for November 5-8, 2020, featuring a detailed arts program encompassing the region's essence and Wiradjuri culture.
Visiting different destinations each year, the arts festival gives local creatives the opportunity to showcase their work with a number of fringe and regional programs.
Eastern Riverina Arts director Tim Kurylowicz, who helped facilitate the organisation's role in developing the festival, said 2020 is the year for arts to shine.
"What is really interesting about 2020 is that it's been the year where the arts have had to really step up, and because of that, I think we'll see some really interesting work to come out of it," he said.
"We've seen artists have to completely reinvent how they deliver their work as the pandemic forces everything online, so if there ever was a year to talk about the importance of art, it's this one."
Should the event go ahead, Dr Kurylowicz said the experience will be one to remember.
"There's going to be an unprecedented number or art exhibitions, performances and events descending on Wagga when it is safe to do so, and the bulk of that will be from the Riverina region," he said.
"It will be a coming together of some of the best creative minds."
Two of the four days of the festival will feature a ticketed speakers conference where a number of keynote speakers, panels and breakout plenary sessions will be held.
Calls for participants have just opened up, with the Artstate team encouraging those in the field to join the conversation as part of the program, speaking to the themes of Walking Together and Shaping Tomorrow.
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Dr Kurylowicz said, while there will be a number of higher profile members of the arts community speaking at the event on a broader scale, he encouraged locals to have their voices heard too.
"We are really interested in any creative with a point of view to register now if they'd like to speak and share their story at this conference," he said.
"We really want to know about local people and local perspectives."
The event is not yet confirmed to go ahead as the pandemic continues to see restrictions enforced, however Artstate Wagga stated that planning is going ahead.
"At this stage, we are excited to still be planning for the event to go ahead, but the health and safety of the community is of highest priority.," they stated.
"We are closely monitoring the restrictions and laws around Covid-19 and re-adjusting our plans as need be, but at this stage it is great to be able to give our creative and Wagga communities something to look forward to."