June 4, 2012

Committee of Management

David Towmey

David Twomey President

David has been a journalist, writer and photographer all his life and has worked across a broad spectrum of the media, newspapers, radio, television, the internet and social media. A lifelong interest in almost all forms of the arts began while growing up in Ballarat being involved in light opera and theatre productions. His current involvements with a range of Arts (most recently organising Ballarat Writers Festival) activities are a way of giving back, while continuing to pursue a work life both writing and photographing.


Merle HathawayMerle Hathaway  Vice President

Merle is a freelance art curator, advisor and consultant. She curated Chris Nicholls: Landscapes of the Mind for the Art Gallery of Ballarat (AGB) in 2013 and is now working on exhibition of this artist’s work for Australian Galleries. She facilitated the Museum of Truth & Lies project for Central Goldfields Shire, wrote the Public Arts Policy for Hepburn Shire, and was part of the evaluation team for Central Highlands LEAP projects. Currently she is Secretary of BAA, Secretary and media officer for Save Civic Hall, and media officer for Ballarat Rural Australians for Refugees. Previous roles include Executive Officer of the Public Galleries Association of Victoria; Director of Horsham Regional Art Gallery; Curator/Educator at Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection; Community Arts Officer for Ballarat; Education Officer at AGB; Art Consultant for the Education Department and art teaching at secondary and tertiary levels in Ballarat. At her home, The Buninyong Brewery, she organises or hosts occasional workshops, concerts and other community events.


Tim Gay Ballarat Arts Alive Treasurer
Tim Gay

Tim joined Crowe Horwath in 1989 while completing his degree at Ballarat University (or BCAE as it was back then). Tim has over 24 years experience in accounting services and specialises in business and taxation services providing advice in taxation, tax planning, business structuring, Capital Gains Tax, GST, and Fringe Benefits Tax. Professional background: Deputy chairman of Her Majesty’s Theatre, served on various local committees and boards including Ballarat District Scout Association, Sunways Retirement Home, BLOC Music Theatre and the Ballarat Symphony Orchestra. Member of several local theatre companies. Ballarat born and bred Tim is married with four children – all of whom are active in the arts. He met his wife in the prop bay of Her Maj – and considers the theatre his second home. You’ll see him onstage in November in BLOC’s production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” featuring along-side his youngest son.


Susanne GrahamSusanne Graham Ordinary Member – Membership Officer

Susanne has recently moved to Ballarat from Melbourne and built a studio at her home in Haddon. She is a black and white artist who also works with textiles. She studied Textile Design at RMIT and has recently completed a two year weaving course with Spinners and Weavers of Vic. Passionate about the “old” crafts, she wants to see them continue to be used and explored in this modern environment. Susanne is secretary for the Ballarat Society of Artists, a member of the Contemporary Artists Society of Victoria, part of the textile Network here in Ballarat and a member of Spinners and Weavers guild and the Embroidery guild of Vic. Susanne is interested in the overall picture of the arts in Ballarat and would like to see more collaboration and communication.


Kiri SmartKiri Smart Ordinary Member – Events Officer

Kiri moved to Ballarat from Melbourne in 1994 to study sculpture the University of Ballarat with Peter Blizzard and Adrian Mauriks. After completing her BA she got involved with the Ballarat Winter Festival in 1997, organising to borrow a shop in Sturt St for 3 weeks. This led to the creation of Anachronism Access Art Gallery, which provided low cost exhibition and studio space for emerging artists. In 1998 Anachronism closed to concentrate on booking the much larger potential at Grainery Lane Theatre & Gallery in Doveton St North (est. 1994). After many fantastic years hosting 1000’s of exhibitions, performances, plays, workshops and several years as Director of the Banana lounge Festival, the committee and volunteers agreed to wrap Grainery Lane up, due to increasing expenses. Initially working on a casual basis at the Art Gallery of Ballarat and returning to Melbourne Uni to complete her art history studies, Kiri now works full time at the gallery front desk. Her dream is to obtain a large studio and return to making sculpture full time.


Susan Mitchell

Susan Mitchell Ordinary Member

Susan is a 4th generation performer, and has lived and worked in the performing arts her entire life. The early years in Ballarat saw her involved with Lyric Theatre, Light Opera Company, Ballarat Youth Theatre, National Theatre, Ballarat Theatre Workshop and Wendouree Arts Council. She went on to work in promotions and event management, and has been the Children’s Workshops Director for Streets Alive!, Tasmanian Craft Fair, Artspark– Visual and Performing Arts School for Children and Festivale Launceston. Susan worked in large scale event production and performance for Country Club Resort, Production Works Hobart, Frontline Events, 10 days on the Island and Chimera Productions.

Susan is a Stage Manager, actor, singer, director, writer, street performer and Creative Program Strategist. Susan taught Youth Theatre, circus and street performance for many years, with Gambit Theatre, Second Storey Youth Theatre, Scottsdale Youth Theatre and her own series of circus workshops in many Tasmanian primary schools. She has performed in over 100 theatre shows, several films, tv commercials and countless street performances, and has worked in over 200 venues around Australia, as well as having written 5 plays. Susan has worked for Disney, and with rock stars and royalty, and sings in a rock blues band.

Former Fringe Producer for Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Susan came back to Ballarat 5 years ago, and is the former Entertainment Manager for Kryal Castle, and also works for Federation University, Constant Logistics, and a variety of events based businesses as a freelance advisor. Susan is pleased the arts focus in Ballarat has grown, and looks forward to more community events of artistic excellence.


Shane van der Akker Ordinary Member

Shane is a professional scenic artist whose work includes large scale murals and theatrical set painting.




Peter Sparkman Ordinary Member

A locally born and bred Creative Ballaratian (pronounced ‘Balla-ray-shun’); Peter has been a visual artist for 40 years or more and has a BAVA in Drawing/Sculpture with a minor in Printmaking and an ADGD (Advanced Diploma of Graphic Design). Observation and drawing have always been the basis for exploration of any subject over the years and he employs multiple styles, which depend on the medium he’s using and the visual he wishes to achieve. He tends to use both photography (a major interest) and drawing as means to an end with many of his works. Moving into digital art in the 2,000’s, he now tends to draw mostly in Adobe illustrator, sometimes combing that output with Photoshop. He has moved towards illustrated pop art/comic based images lately, and tends to focus on subjects like: humour, nature, spirituality, social comment and fantasy. His works guide the viewer to think laterally, through the inclusion of humour or other stimuli that engage shared memories and associated emotions. This draws them to think, form an opinion and act as a ‘spark’ for further stimulating creative activities. Creativity, local history and Communications are of great interest to him, as he enjoys networking information and disseminating it to interested parties in order to help create a better environment and culture around us. He loves designing the layout/collecting the information and visuals for the Arts & Culture Unit of the City of Ballarat’s 50 page ‘ARTeFACT’ Newsletter. He hopes to help make Ballarat a better place by contributing to BAA via his local knowledge and skill base.