For my kids, summer school holidays needs to be a mix of vegging out and organized fun – and the NSW Central West always delivers when it comes to arts and creative activities.

I’ve pulled out some of the highlights from Arts OutWest’s What’s On listings to share with you over the coming weeks:

Today: Fun festivals and gentle gallery visits

Next post: Carols, crafts and Christmas cinema

Later in December: Creative activities for January + the best museum experiences

Exploring Art

One of the things I love about the art galleries in the Central West is that they’re free to visit, so even if you pop in for five minutes of air-conditioned quiet space, no one minds. The regional galleries tend to program more kid-friendly exhibitions over summer too. To be honest my kids and I have had gallery visits that fill a whole morning and days we walk in and a six-year old says “yeah, nah, don’t like it” and we leave. My tip: ask your kids to play tour guide and explain the art – it’s hilarious.


Last week my three-year old and I had ages of fun at Anastasia Parmson’s “I Drew A Line & Called It Home” [pictured] at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (Tuesdays-Sunday until February 6). It’s a whole room that’s essentially one big drawing – and you can walk around inside it. We sat on the chairs, talked on the phone, pretended it was our house. She also liked the few drawings of animals in the Brett Whiteley ‘Drawing is Everything’ exhibition that fills the rest of the gallery. I still want to take them to Guido Maestri’s ‘Stories from Homedale’ at Mudgee Arts Precinct (daily to Jan 9) because it’s based on my childhood favourite book ‘The Bunyip of Berkley’s Creek’.

The newly extended Orange Regional Gallery reopens on Friday December 3 with four different exhibitions and there’s plenty of other exhibitions around the region to explore (plus all the fabulous museums, but I’ll talk about them in a future post).

The regional galleries all have kids workshops planned for January (but not yet announced). I’ll share these later in the month, or check the Arts OutWest What’s On.

Festival Fun

It’s the festive season so we need festivals!

Lanterns made by kids in Condobolin for Skyfest. Photo: Condo Skyfest

In Condobolin kids had been making lanterns and preparing for Skyfest, which was to happen in September. That’s been postponed until 2022 but the lantern makers will get to parade their creations down the main street during the Christmas Lantern Parade & Dress Ups on Friday 3 December (starts 5.30pm).

Orange has a brand-new festival Celebrate Orange360! (December 9-12) centered around a big Spiegeltent set up in Robertson Park. Speigeltents have something of a tradition for comedy, sparkle and cabaret and the Orange events are mostly family focused. Grab tickets for The Pitts Family Circus, The Space Cowboy, Joel Salom, Kiki and Pascal (who were very entertaining at Bathurst Winter Festival) and others. The Crack Up Kabaret (Saturday 11 December, 1:30pm) is a one-hour show that’s “a place where families can laugh and play together” with “mind blowing acrobatics, side splitting comedy, gravity defying circus stunts and record-breaking hula hooping.” Grab tickets to shows here.

‘Happenstance’ chalk art for the Teeny Tiny Arts Festival in Parkes. Photo: Parkes Community Arts Festival

Parkes have something really special planned in the Teeny Tiny Arts Festival (10-16 December). The festival includes an art exhibition, happenstance art, workshops and a soiree event. Keep an eye out for chalk art and other fun ‘happenstances’ around town made by young people (here’s a video of some already made). Other events include Maker Meet design and tech open day for ages 16+; lino printing and card making for ages 12+; and a Parkes Shire Concert Band performance (Saturday 18 December 11am at Cooke Park Pavilion). Details on their Facebook page.

Hudsons Circus are in Cowra from the 8-12 December at Cowra Showground with a two-hour traditional style a modern twist featuring “daredevils, hilarious clowns and beautiful animal acts in a fast paced show for the whole family.”

See Arts OutWest’s full list of creative summer activities for Kids & Families.

Add your a listings here.

See Central West Mums events list

Find museums, galleries, public art and other fun across the NSW Central West at Culture Maps Central NSW.

Note: Things keep changing. Rising rivers. Covid related stuff. Check with venues before setting out and we’ll also run updates on the Arts OutWest What’s On.

Images (from top): exploring Anastasia Parmson called I Drew A Line & Called It Home at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (photo: Arts OutWest); Lanterns made for Condo Skyfest (photo: Condo Skyfest; ‘Happenstance’ chalk art in Parkes (photo: Parkes Community Arts Festival).