Lake Macquarie is fast becoming an arts destination and Lake Mac Arts is its online cultural hub.
Lake Macquarie City Council introduced the Lake Mac Arts website to feature upcoming exhibitions, creative workshops, theatre shows, film screenings and live music events happening in the area. The aim was to raise the profile of Lake Macquarie as an arts destination.
"Lake Mac Arts was a critical next step when we developed our first Arts, Heritage and Cultural Plan for Lake Macquarie in 2017," says Jacqui Hemsley, the council's arts, culture and tourism manager.
"The first step was to build and refresh our cultural facilities, rebrand and expand our MAC Museum of Art and Culture yapang, build Multi Arts Pavilion mima, and redevelop two theatres to a national standard.
"The Lake Mac Arts website is the conduit to communicate how amazing these facilities are and to offer the community world class music and theatre experiences."
The list of upcoming events is interesting and diverse. There's Lake Mac Open Studios on June 4 and 5; James Drinkwater in Conversation on June 24; the Dobell Festival which runs throughout June; and REBEL: A David Bowie circus rock tribute in July.
There's also lantern making, charcoal art classes, films, landscape sketching ... the list goes on.
You can view every event online at arts.lakemac.com.au and plan ahead.
Many events will take place at Rathmines Theatre, nawayiba, and Warners Bay Theatre, baramayiba. Others are outdoors, at various locations on the lake. The Lake Mac Ferry provides an "art hop" experience on Australia's largest saltwater lake, connecting galleries and theatres.
"I'm excited about the incredible growth and interest in live music and performance in our city," Hemsley says.
"The diversity of what we have now is excellent, from opera to DJ sets to contemporary dance. A few years ago this would not have been possible.
"The Lake Macquarie community now has the opportunity to see world class acts like the Australian Haydn Ensemble who will visit in August to perform three revolutionary symphonies from Beethoven's Eroica in chamber form."
Lake Macquarie is one of the first cities in Australia to "dual name" all local cultural facilities with both an Awabakal and English name. They did so in consultation with Miromaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre, referring to sites, places, events and objects of significance to local Aboriginal people.
"We've already received lots of positive feedback about the Lake Mac Arts website - it has given the community a one-stop-shop for art, theatre, music and cultural experiences that you would expect from a major city like Sydney or Melbourne," Hemsley says.
"It's exciting to watch this platform grow and even more exciting seeing the happy faces that leave our venues after a show."