This Is Not Art launches program for 20th edition

INNOVATIVE: The This Is Not Art Festival has always attempted to pose questions and start discussions during its 20-year history.FAKE news game shows, spelling bees for adults, a critique ofNewcastle’s quirkyarchitectureand a late ‘90s themed music night.

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These willall be featured and much more when Newcastle’s This Is Not Art Festival turns 20onSeptember 28 to October 1.

This year’s 150-event program was officially launched at the University of Newcastle Gallery on Thursday night, with amusical performance by Crack Theatre Festival artistCosmo Gelzinnisand poetry readings by National Young Writers’ Festival artists.

Since launchingfrom humble beginningsin September 1998 TiNA has become one of Australia’s leading independent contemporary arts and media festivals.

The festival’s name was taken from a graffiti tag on the decrepitLatec House, formerly the tallest building in Newcastle. The Pinnacle Apartments now occupies the site in Hunter Street.

From day one TiNA has prideditself oninnovation.

“I think what keeps it different all the timeis there’s an annual artist’s call out, which means we’re constantly responding to new and emerging ideas and arts practices,” festival producerChristina Robberds said.

“There’s different things on the world’s political stage that find their way onto the program.”

In 1998 TiNA held workshops on building websites and using the internet, and connectivityremains a strong focus. This year’sprogram features singalongs,blogging, poetry, gaming, cartooning, a spelling bee, dance, roving artist talks, witchcraft, drama, comedy, songwriting and many of the performances are interactive.

“We’re very much trying to create opportunities for people to not onlycome and watch things, but to participate as well and get a feel for contemporary arts in Newcastle,” Robberds said.

To celebrate the 20theditionNational Young Writers’ Festival alumni have been invited to return for an evening at Newcastle City Hall, which will feature music from the late ‘90s.

Notable alumni include TiNA and Renew Newcastle founderMarcus Westbury and author Benjamin Law.

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