WIMMERA Uniting Care has committed to run the next Awakenings Festival in 2014.
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The annual Wimmera arts festival celebrating people with disabilities was put on hold this year because of a lack of money.

Chief executive Wendy Middleton said a small planning committee was applying for grants to stage the event and had a three-year plan in place.

She said a community meeting in April decided there would be a small event in October.

Next year, mentors will work with budding artists of varying abilities in preparation for the 2014 festival.

“We agreed that there needed to be something this year in October to keep Awakenings foremost in people’s minds,” Ms Middleton said.

“We will have an art exhibition, a cocktail party or dinner, with an auction of works done by people of varying abilities who will be mentored by an artist.

“There will be performances at the auction and a special guest.

“Planning is in the early stages, but we are hoping to having something up on the web by July.”

Ms Middleton said the Awakenings Festival would become a biennial event and would not run in 2013 to avoid a clash with the Nati Frinj Festival, which also runs biennially.

The next Nati Frinj Festival is in October 2013.

She said next year, artists would work with people with a disability on a range of works including sculpture, mosaic, jewellery, metal work and photography.

The works would be on display at the 2014 Awakenings Festival.

“We would certainly hope to have festival patron David Helfgott as patron again at the next festival,” Ms Middleton said.

“We are also targeting volunteers with an art to mentor emerging artists in their work.”

Ms Middleton said people could call Wimmera Uniting Care on 5362 4000 for more information or to volunteer.

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