Festival Artist

Festival Artist

The honorary Festival Artist appointment acknowledges the accomplishments of a particular arts practitioner each year and celebrates the valued contribution that local artists bring to the Armadale community.

Announcing the 2021 Festival Artist… Julie Fearns-Pheasant


We are pleased to announce that Julie Fearns-Pheasant has been selected as Festival Artist for the 2021 Armadale Arts Festival!

“Being chosen as the Festival Artist of 2021 is exciting, affirming and wonderful on so many levels. I can take this time to explore, to share and to immerse myself (even more) in my community’s vision of what the arts can bring to Armadale,” says Julie.

“As a long-time resident, I am quietly committed to showing others in Armadale the overall value of the arts. Our established creative community is supportive, fabulously innovative and so willing to share its vision with people who need a direction. The arts do that.”

Julie, a visual artist and educator, has a professional creative career that spans over 40 years. Her community spirit and passion for local projects has made her, in her quiet way, one of the most well known artists in Armadale. She has had numerous solo and joint exhibitions as well as being an arts educator for over 20 years.

Julie came to Armadale as an immigrant with her family and lived here as a child, returning 22 years ago with her own family. She has assisted the City of Armadale develop some of its most cherished visual arts initiatives including the Minnawarra Art Awards and Outside the Frame, and has been an active participant of the Armadale Hills Open Studio Arts Trail for over four years.

Julie has numerous achievements and accolades including a Masters Degree in Cross-Disciplinary Arts at UNSW Art & Design, and she was the first Australian artist to win dual gold medals at the International Abilympics. With over ten solo exhibitions and numerous joint shows under her belt, she is well-versed in illustration, painting, and many mixed media projects.

Julie was one of the district’s first women Rotarians (holding several community Directorships) for many years and now assists the City of Armadale in educational projects such as the Loch Mess Monster Upcycle Challenge (2018 to present) and the Centenary Poppies Project (2018). Recently Julie became a volunteer radio presenter on 107.3 HFM, part of the team of the Good the Bad and the Ugly of the Creative Arts, airing Tuesdays 6pm-9pm.

Often asked to be a guest speaker at school and youth events, Julie supports young people as often as possible. She has taught in both the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary sectors, as well as holding a popular weekly class for local gifted and talented young students called ‘Leos’, where her students affectionately call her ‘Mrs Fez’. She teaches her students in the way she believes arts should be taught; with knowledge, commitment and kindness, passionately believing that creative education is essential to a student’s wellbeing and personal growth. In particular, Julie believes developing good drawing skills is the principle of good arts practice. 

Interested in personal art themes that symbolically convey social concerns, her current academic research uses narratives and well-known stories to address universal issues such as body image, bullying and depression.

Her professional arts studio based at her home is named Corbeau Arts Studio.

2020 Festival Artist

In 2020 the Armadale Arts Festival was cancelled due to COVID-19.

2019 Festival Artist – Gavin Grace (Gracey)

Gavin Grace (Gracey) is husband to Sharon, father of Justice, Reign and Pride, Founder of multi award-winning company Art vs Depression, Founder of the Resilient Friends Club, 2018 City of Armadale Citizen of the Year, advocate for the arts, champion of our local communities and a leader in art for social change strategy in Western Australia. 

As the 2019 Festival Artist, Gracey produced a documentary, Connecting Us, which screened at the 2019 Armadale Arts Festival. The film explored how connecting to traditional cultural art forms can inspire, empower and engage diverse peoples and what role culture plays in our communities.

As part of Art vs Depression, Gracey has worked on many varied projects with local governments, schools, not-for-profit community organisations, individuals and groups.

2018 Festival Artist – Cathie Travers

A musician since the 1970s, Cathie Travers is now one of the most highly regarded accordionists in the nation. She has performed across a wide range of genres, from rock bands as a singer-guitarist and keyboard player, to a classical pianist, avant-garde keyboardist, and exponent of digital technologies in music. 

Cathie’s talent has seen her featured as a composer, performer, and musical director for numerous theatre and dance works as well as ensemble and orchestral performances around Australia, Asia, USA, Canada, and the UK. Cathie is regularly inspired by a social or environmental situation and continues to write original and instrumental titles.

Cathie has a passion for sharing her gift through education, an innate sense of music, and a love of creativity.

2017 Festival Artist – Rachel John

Image: Matt Skellern of Photo ForMatt

Rachel John is the founder and musical director of the vibrant Classic Sounds Orchestra Association, that in 2017 was the recipient of the prestigious Australia Day award for Active Citizenship.

Rachel grew up in Armadale and for the past two decades has been an active performer, educator, workshop facilitator and arts administrator in the local music industry. She is a passionate advocate for strengthening community spirit through creative activities and believes the Arts have no age, gender or cultural boundaries. 

She believes that “artistic and creative endeavours are what fill our souls with colour; they are a form of expression that is universally spoken.” Rachel recognises that music is simply a conduit for inspiring others, identifying learning-style strengths, and awaking neurological pathways. She loves being part of community music and the diverse social fabric that makes Armadale unique.

“It is a joy to be part of a community rich in cultural diversity and inspirational peers, and I am proud to be an ambassador for the growth of artistic values.”

2016 Festival Artist – Trudi Pollard

Image: Matt Devlin

Trudi’s selection as inaugural Festival Artist recognised her long-term commitment to artistic inspiration and well-being of the Armadale community. Considered a textile art pioneer and foremost expert on Western Australian natural dyes, Trudi has been working, studying, lecturing and teaching in the areas of textile arts and ceramics for more than 40 years.

She exhibits locally, nationally and internationally, has won many awards and her work is held in both public and private collections world-wide. Her work has a strong focus on colour, locally derived from the earth’s minerals and plants. Trudi uses designs and techniques that reflect the underpinning anthropological story behind nature’s rich visual tapestry, which provides her with never-ending creative inspiration.