Gunning Focus Group was established in 1998 with assistance from Southern Tablelands Arts to provide access to the arts for the local Gunning region and for “beautification” of Gunning village. After 18 years it has achieved well in both.
Each year the Focus Group brings about four concerts and a play to Gunning, presenting them at the Shire Hall or the Court Room, depending on the nature of the performance. We have also organised arts workshops, hosted touring visual arts exhibitions and, significantly, organised a public art project in Gunning, the Holden Wall of Fame. The Focus Group owns a Yamaha UM3 upright piano, used for professional concerts and occasional community events, which is housed in the Gunning Courtroom.
Some of our performers have been Australian household names, like cellist and conductor David Pereira and the internationally renowned harpist and harp teacher Alice Giles. We have also received great support from actor and musician Chrissie Shaw.
In its early years the Focus Group planted four beds of roses in Gunning; outside the Court House and the Bank, outside the motel, and at the memorial grounds next to the Gunning Shire Hall. We also placed half a dozen street seats on Yass Street at strategic points. The former Gunning Shire Council and now the Upper Lachlan Shire Council provided funding and invaluable assistance for these projects.
The Focus Group has some 50 members, from Gunning and district, Crookwell, Gundaroo, and Canberra. Membership costs $10 a year, $20 for families and $50 for patrons.
The Focus Group’s partners include Southern Tablelands Arts (STARTS), of which the Focus Group is a member, the Upper Lachlan Shire Council, which owns the Shire Hall and Court House where the Focus Group presents the majority of its performances, and community groups in Gunning.