Made in Meeka shares town’s art, stories

Dominique BayensMidwest Times
Local artists and Meekatharra residents come together to share stories and skills at Made in Meeka.
Camera IconLocal artists and Meekatharra residents come together to share stories and skills at Made in Meeka.

A crowd funded community arts and heritage centre is giving Meekatharra residents a place to share Dreamtime stories and display their art.

Co-owner and manager of Made in Meeka, Anna Johnson, opened the arts centre to the community after discovering artists in town who had nowhere to exhibit their work.

“I’d been thinking about having a little shop or office in town for (my own business) Dingo Meeka, and I thought I could rent something or get something going where artists could put their work up for display, so it started with that,” she said.

“I just opened the doors and let people tell me what they wanted and it’s become incredibly popular, it’s kind of like the town living room.”

Ms Johnson said Made in Meeka gave older residents a purpose within the community.

“Lots of the people sitting up at the pub or down at the creek, they’ve just got nothing else to do,” she said.

“And yet some of them remember coming in from the desert; they are amazing people with incredible skills to share and some of them need to pass on their Dreamtime stories before they pass away,” she said.

Ms Johnson, who moved to Meekatharra six years ago, said she and her partner had decided to use crowdfunding instead of applying for grants because Made in Meeka is a “square peg in a round hole”.

“We’re for everybody. All of the projects we do here, we can do whether we’ve got money or not because we use recycled materials,” she said.

“A lot of people who leave town will donate stuff ... art supplies that they don’t want any more so I hand that on to people in the community.”

Ms Johnson said they hoped to build a meeting place where people in the community could share their stories.

“In 2017, I’ll do it if I’m flat dead broke; there will be somewhere for older people to sit and share their culture and stories,” she said.

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