ArtHouse: new arts destination arrives at RACV Goldfields

The outside of ArtHouse, with RACV Goldfields Resort visible in the background

Nicola Dowse

Posted October 10, 2022

A new creative space at RACV’s Goldfields Resort will host exhibitions, residencies, and workshops for guests and the general public.

Creswick – and the surrounding areas of Ballarat, Clunes and Daylesford – have long inspired artists to the region. Arthouse is a new cultural destination which will further artistic inspiration and provide a space for visitors to engage in the arts. 

Located at RACV Goldfields Resort, ArtHouse is all about connecting people through art, be they RACV Members, guests or the local community. RACV Goldfields Resort Manager, Bowen Kress, said the initiative builds on RACV’s existing commitment to Australia’s visual arts industry. 

“RACV has a long and proud history of collaborating with Australian artists and values the role art plays in connecting communities,” he said.

“ArtHouse will engage, educate and inspire. It is a space where visitors can experience great Australian art and relax in the beautiful surroundings.”

Art for all

Although ArtHouse officially opened on October 8, it’s a project that’s been in the making for years. 

“We have been using art as a tool for social impact over the last three years, working mostly with regional communities,” said Mardi Nowak, Head of Visual Arts at RACV. 

“ArtHouse is an extension of this, becoming a home for not only excellent artistic practice but also artist-in-residence programs and community cultural development.” 

The decision to launch ArtHouse at RACV Goldfields resort was a simple one, though not entirely without its challenges. An existing building was repurposed as part of its construction, which required a crane to hoist and fly ArtHouse across the property to its new location (which has a tremendous view of the golf course featuring local wildlife). 

For Nowak, it made sense to establish the creative space in the Goldfields, given the regions long history of the arts.  “Creswick has an arts history, being home to the Lindsay family, one of Australia’s most well-known and respected artistic families,” she said.  

“There is a strong and vibrant local arts scene which is expanding with many artists making the tree change.  It made sense to build upon these communities and provide further opportunities for them, as well as provide experiences that delight and surprise for our resort guests.”


Artist Casey Jeffery sitting in a studio with paintings in the background

Melbourne-based artist Casey Jeffery drew inspiration from the Creswick Woollen Mills for her exhibition at ArtHouse.

Local sites in the spotlight

Artist Casey Jeffery has the honour of being the first artist to officially show at the newly opened ArtHouse, hosting an exhibition that draws directly from the region.

The Melbourne-based artist has family in the area and looked to local sites like the Creswick Woollen Mills to inspire the exhibition. “I’ve painted a lot of fabrics before, so it felt natural to go with the Creswick Woollen Mills,” said Jeffery. 

The mill has been a core industry for Creswick and continues to operate today selling everything from clothes to bedding. It also sells picnic rugs, and in 2011 created the world’s longest picnic blanket, which Jeffery recreated for the ArtHouse launch exhibition. 

The record-breaking rug measured in at 100 metres when completed and took machines at the mill one week to create. Not to be outdone, Jeffery challenged herself to paint the rug in the same time frame in what she describes as a “race against the machine.”

Though much of Jeffery’s work involves reproducing the look and texture of textiles as paintings, she doesn’t paint on fabric. Instead, Jeffery favours pine panels as her canvas, laying down colour in acrylic paint before using oils to create the illusion of real fabric. Goldfields resort guests and staff have commented on the uncanny realism of the paintings during their creation. 

“This is the quickest I've ever worked on my own works before, but I'm feeling good about it,” Jeffery said. “I think it's a really good opportunity to work outside of the city and engage with these communities.”


Casey Jeffery, 'The world's longest picnic rug, Creswick' 2022, oil and acrylic on pine.
Casey Jeffery, 'Baby Alpaca Check' 2022, oil and acrylic on pine.

Future projects 

Jeffery’s paintings certainly won’t be the last exhibition to show at ArtHouse.  

Dja Dja Wurrung artist Tashara Roberts is also slated to present an upcoming installation that will directly explore the land on which Creswick sits. Roberts will be working on country for the project, using materials like seed pods and timber collected from the resort grounds themselves.

“It will be beautiful and thought-provoking,” Nowak said. 

There are plans for ArtHouse to become a permanent cultural fixture in the region, with collaborations with other local arts organisations and galleries already in progress. While also continuing to encourage all people to enjoy the arts, of course.  

“ArtHouse is about creating something unexpected at RACV Goldfields Resort,” Nowak said. “I hope that it encourages people who don’t think art is for them to look at the world in a slightly different way.” 

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