Alice in Spring time comes alive.

Since 2001, Desert Festival has been a celebration of artists in community, with attention to making Alice Springs a festive experience for visitors and locals.

Initially, the festival worked in existing venues, before moving to a hub model to foster large events.

This year is the start of a four-year plan over which Desert Festival will work with existing venues, restaurants, accommodation and businesses within the CBD to transform the route from Gap Rd to Anzac Oval into a festive space throughout the Spring season.

The strip will very much be a ‘festival precinct’ with a seasonal season running from 31st August until 13th October with 33 shows, an interactive arts program for children, professional workshops and even more promoted shows.

This allows festival patrons the flexibility to find a show every week rather than a condensed short run that competes for their attention.

By spreading out Artists and entertainment will be available to travellers and a busy local community through to October.

Desert Festival is proud to be working with some of the leading venues in town, including popular haunts such as Montes Lounge, Gap View Hotel, Totem Theatre, Alice Springs Cinema, Epilogue Lounge, Town Council Lawns and the newly renovated spaces at 67 Bath Street.

With the implementation of permanent staff at Red Hot Arts engaged to assist in professional development, production design and promotion, the focus is to support artists to create a unique experience for their audience that is a little different to what audiences may normally expect.

As you’d come to expect from the Arts, The Desert Festival has not shied away from controversy and festival-goers can expect to experience events like films of political commentary, burlesque and Avant-Garde experimentation.

A new online ticketing system for Red Hot Arts has given Central Australian artists, venues and event organizers the capacity to not only promote their shows through our channels but to sell tickets and get support for their door sales. Even better for the sector, the only cost for ticketing will be the card processing fees.

Red Hot Arts promotional channels have expanded in 2017-18 with LED signage, large posters and window wraps at 67 Bath St. Next Red Hot Arts will be installing over 30 digital posters in key locations for promoting to the region’s visitors.

To arrange media interview with our artists please contact:
Barbara Clifford 0421 259 045

For information on the Desert Festival program please contact:
Cy Starkman 08 8952 2392

New website

As General Manager this opportunity, to provide these valuable services to the Arts and Cultural sector of Central Australia is so exciting. As in 1999, in 2019 Red Hot Arts Central Australia is in service to the sector.

Red Hot Arts, started in 1999 to promote the arts and cultural events of Central Australia and continues to innovate in the space. is the premier touch point for events, jobs, classes and opportunities

Now, we push it further with an upgraded events system. As organiser you will be able to edit, delete and access all the events you create. Update events or fix errors. Recurring events are a snap and the interface is fast.

Potential audiences will access your facebook event, maps to the venue and contact information. The front page focus in on events with easy filters, views and menu access to workshops, classes, opportunities and jobs.

To help you promote, while adding your event you can also book and send us artwork for the LED Signs and large posters at 67 Bath St. This service will include booking our new Digital Poster network rolling out this year.

As always your promotion goes out across our network, including weekly newsletters, The “What’s On In Alice Springs” Facebook Group, or our Page. Events are also promoted on 8CCC, ABC and the Centralian Advocate.

The new website also makes accessing Red Hot Arts easier and clearer. Memberships, bookings, calendars and services are all available and who to speak to right there. Plus, links to other organisations for support.

Saving the best for last, we are proud to announce that all events promoted on can now be ticketed. You customise the ticket, offer sales, collect patron information or simply request RSVP’s.

Best of all, we only pass on the processing fees. There is no charge to use the service except for big events. After the event, send us an invoice and we pay it all direct to you.

To extend the reach of your event, all ticketed events will be available for purchase at the Visitor Information Centre, with Digital Poster promotion and a $1 booking fee on top of the ticket price.

At the door, scan audience tickets with most smartphones. Our box office service also offers point of sale systems with inventory, receipts, eftpos and cash drawer. With a full sales report at the end, kiss tick sheets goodbye.

As General Manager this opportunity, to provide these valuable services to the Arts and Cultural sector of Central Australia is so exciting. As in 1999, in 2019 Red Hot Arts Central Australia is in service to the sector.

Digital Event Posters Funded by Community Benefit Fund

Following on from the announcement of our successful application to the Community Benefit Fund, we’d like to update you on the next steps we are taking towards delivering our Digital Posters around town.

The first role out is likely to focus on accommodation providers but will also be extending to venues and popular tourist destinations.  We’re already in conversations with Parks & Wildlife, Tourism NT and Alice Springs Council, showing support for the project.

General Manager, Cy Starkman said: “We’ve been researching the system for about two years now and we’re really excited that the NT Government has seen the value in promoting these great events around town. The value for all events is going to be really significant.”

First things, first, is to test the technical capabilities, to get it working and operating correctly before a large-scale installation.

We have ordered two different size screens, a 40inch screen and a 48inch screen, plus supporting brackets.  This would replace your normal A2 or A1 size poster that you might have considered printing.

You can watch Cy Starkman’s interview with Dale Wakefield MLA: Member for Braitling, here:

Fusion of Fitness and Drumming @ 67 Bath Street

The space at Red Hot Arts has become a versatile hub to not only celebrate art but community cultural activity.  The recent addition to the calendar of activity at 67 Bath Street is a fusion of fitness and art.  Pound Fit is a workout of rhythmic action but incorporates drumming as well.  Course instructor, Letitia Stafford was introduced to Pound Fit by close friend and fitness instructor, Sila.  Letitia was hooked after participating in some classes and later covering for Sila.

She went to Adelaide in January 2017 to learn Pound Pro (the name given to Instructors).  “The music, the workout and the rhythmic action of the drumming, as well as the permission to rock out as loud as they like, is a powerful combination that makes people addicted to this workout once they try it! It is the perfect workout after a stressful day in the office, “said Letitia.

Using the rehearsal space enables gives permission for participants to engage in fitness in a creative an interesting way.

If you’re interested in using one of the many spaces available, call our office on 8952 2392 or complete the booking form (on the right of your screen).

Red Hot Arts Kicks Off Remote Mentoring Program

Remote mentoring applications have now closed and have been reviewed. 12 applicants (including one group) will be using the pilot service.
Cy Starkman, General Manager said “We’ve started bringing people in to discuss their specific needs and working with them to select their exact remotes mentors that they’ll be working with.  The rehearsal room has now been technically set up with a large screen projector, a wireless mic that they’ll be able to use if they are doing performance-based work.”
Red Hot Arts already has a relationship with organisations and mentors nationally that they can tap into.  They’ll also be using these to develop business to business relationships.
Cy Starkman said, “The range of participants is quite exciting, we have cabaret, directorial theatre, shoemaking, music, interactive youth theatre, writing and comedy.  We even have Curatorial mentorship.”
The mentors extend across the country and the world,  coming from Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin, London and Israel.  They will be using digital systems to connect with the mentees.  Some participants will get projects out of the mentoring that will be included in the Desert Festival.  While others are also developing not only a product but also personal development.  Others will be looking to sell their product nationally and internationally.
As part of the mentoring, participants will also be able to work with internal staff from Red Hot Arts with one on one support.  Most of them will be starting quite soon with the first one kicking off in June.
The goal is to demonstrate that living in regional and remote areas is actually viable to develop your practice.  Additionally, the outcome will be to develop more enduring relationships elsewhere, in fact, as a result of one of the mentors being engaged from Melbourne, has put in an application to be a part of the Desert Festival.  By doing this, Red Hot Arts has already achieved great results. By creating relationships with professionals, it entices them here and that attraction can only get stronger.  It demonstrates that in Regional Australia there is more opportunity to develop your art form.  This is because there is less competition and with less competition, there is more access to resources.  Additionally, productions are more accessible encouraging better audience numbers.
Perhaps these mentors will start to see this as viable opportunity to work in other regional areas as well.

A new point of sale tool for event organisers.

For box office services Red Hot Arts has purchased  a fully digital system that can act as a till, ticketing system, receipting system, and process credit cards as a point of sale tool.  Event organisers can not only add different tickets as well as merchandising they are now able to easily provide a branded receipt of purchase.  It’s a simple system that can easily be managed by volunteers and remove the need for a cash float or cash tin.  It allows event organisers to not only present more professionally but enables traffic to quickly move through the event.
Having a cash tin makes it difficult to track what items have actually been sold, or to monitor busiest times of sale.  Additionally, hand over of information can be tricky, such as the value of the start float or to establishing where, how or why a cash float is not balancing and who sold what at any given time.  A digital system streamlines and automates this process. The cost to present professionally or become professional is prohibitive with costs being around $800 – $1000 simply to set up, quite often for a one-off event.
The long-term goal is to make this a product/service that is for hire for any events organisers.
The first sub-pilot trial of the equipment was at this years Blacken Festival. Cy Starkman, General Manager,  worked with the organiser to trial the system. “We just used the phone card reader.  Not only did it help them create a quick point of sale, it made a friction-less point of sale.  For example, no one was turned away because it was ‘cash only’. “
The second element that creates a friction-less environment is volunteer training. Most people have probably worked in hospitality or used touch screens to create quick engagements.  Even though the friction-less environment created at Blacken Festival was rudimentary, it doubled the sale of merchandise just by having it there. No one was turned away with “oh sorry, we only take cash’.
Out at Wide Open Space Fesitval, it really sped up the process of moving traffic into the festival, dealing with large numbers of people in a short period of time.
A cash till can cause issues around security.  When sales are happening in a condensed period of time, there is little or no time to acquit a cash float and move cash out of the till. A digital point of sale system helps alleviate this risk.
Cy Starkman, said “We are looking forward to building on this experience with this equipment at the Desert Festival, a platform to support the sector, which is its purpose and how we’re funded. This point of sale system can be part of a whole box office solution and will lead into what’s coming up next which is an online ticketing system for people to utilise as well in the cheapest way possible. The system we’ve chosen allows us to make it affordable, with a minimum fee to help with maintenance costs and to pass on the card fees.
Wide Open Spaces really put the system through the test, it was dusty and dirty, some things broke. It was a trial by fire but from this, Red Hot Arts will be able to improve the system, equipment and process.

New board and new executive are now chosen

The latest board meeting (since the AGM) have finalised new board positions.

  • Jason Quin                          Chair
  • Jonny Rowden                  Deputy
  • Markus Kuchenbuch
  • Rob Burdon                        Public Officer
  • Jen Standish-White         Treasurer
  • Damien Ryan
  • Benjamin Erin                    Secretary (new) could ask him about his story
  • Catherine Satour              ASTC

There are still two positions available.  Ata Hill and Rebecca Ellson both attended the board meeting to consider joining the board.  The fact that both these people are women, was encouraging for the board who want to see an increase of female representation on the board.

Benjamin Erin, a new member of the board, has an interest in community capacity building through new forms of media.  On joining the board, he said: “I’ve been inspired by the changes at Red Hot Arts and the opportunity to build the creative scope of the Alice Springs community.”  Benjamin is ex Sydney and has been  living in Alice Springs since 2013. His background is in Community Organising, Events and Performance.  He is the Station Manager at 8CCC Community Radio, and passionate about stories that we create.

Highlights from the Red Hot Arts Annual General Meeting

Red Hot Arts Central Australia held their Annual General Meeting on the 18th April at 67 Bath Street.

Here are some of the highlights.

Along with the formalities, members and board members enjoyed a performance by local band, Wiggle of Judas.

Long-standing members Dave Nixon and Craig Sanrock stepped down after serving more than one term on the board.

Benjamin Erin, Station Manager at 8CCC has taken up a new position on the board, strengthening the relationship between Community Radio and Red Hot Arts.

Many have noticed the lack of women on the board, and female members of Red Hot Arts are encouraged to put their hands up.

At the time of the AGM, Red Hot Arts currently has 184 members.

Cy Starkman, General Manager for Red Hot Arts, presented for the first time, some interesting statics on what Red Hot Arts has achieved since 2001.  These include:

$470, 000 toward promoting events

$327,000 towards equipment hire

$115,000 towards venue hire

$1,102, 700 paid out to artists.

The Annual Report will soon be released, so watch this space.

Wiggle Of Judas. Photography: Mikey Boyce

Promotional Signage Just Keeps Getting Better at 67 Bath Street

67 Bath Street has in excess of 40,000 cars drive past it per week, not to mention the foot traffic.  Interestingly, not all the traffic is going to be locals either. The intersection of Stott Terrace and Bath Street is a thoroughfare for important destinations for tourists such as The Ghan, the heritage precinct, Woolworths, Coles and Kmart.

The recent installation of full glass posters by TJ Signs, showcasing the Wide-Open Space Festival, represents the culmination of the community recognising 67 Bath Street as an epicentre of cultural promotion.   Asprint and TJ Signs have offered great support in providing great products, at a great price with a quick turnaround.  In fact, the mounted printed poster boards are set at a price that makes it not only affordable for festivals events but for all events, big or small in Alice Springs.

In addition to Asprint and AJ Signs, other partnerships have been developed with the Centralian Advocate and the Visitors Information Centre.  General Manager, Cy Starkman, will now be a featured contributor each Friday edition of the Advocate, sharing news and musings on Festivals, Events and the Arts in Central Australia.

The Visitors Information Centre will now work in partnership with Red Hot Arts to promote local events, soon to be the Box Office Booking Agent for major events.

A key stakeholder relationship that has been integral to the successful implementation of all signage promotional opportunities at 67 Bath Street has been the current members of the Alice Springs Town Council and the Department of Tourism and Culture.  Both understood the immense value that the visual exposure could provide at this location.  Safety was the utmost importance for implementation.  General Manager, Cy Starkman, started work as an Admin Officer back in 2010 and witnessed many traffic accidents at the intersection.  Alice Springs Town Council worked with Red Hot Arts to ensure that signage is certified and does not cause a visual distraction for traffic.  For example, the LED displays do not utilise animation (although technically possible) and the posters must not be overly detailed to distract a driver’s eyes from the road.   Appreciating the value of the promotion, the Department of Tourism and Culture provided funding support.

In the short time that this large signage has been on the window display, showcasing the Wide Open Space Festival, many other major events have been excited to be in conversation with Red Hot Arts about a similar opportunity.  Cy has been talking with Finke Desert Race, Henley on Todd, Parrtjima, Red Centre Nats and Dirt Poetry Society.

Both Tourism Central Australia and Tourism Northern Territory are both excited to see these promotional signage opportunities developing.

For information on the free LED signage or for costs on the poster and window signage call 08 8952 2392

Watch the Video Here

What is the Remote Mentoring Program?

Red Hot Art held an information night on the 4th April for those interested in the Remote Mentoring Program that is currently being piloted through Red Hot Arts.  It was well attended by different artists from different practices.  The intention of the event was to provide information to the local arts community about the mentoring program, to share ideas and to build the program together.
Artists and their mentor will have up to 20 sessions of remote mentoring times. This will would access to the optical fibre network at 67 Bath Street, State of the Art Conferencing technology, utilising large projection screens or monitors and directional microphones. Madeleine Krenek, Arts Development Officer said: “This program works over an extended period of time so that artists can investigate and talk about the work with their mentor.”
The scope of work could include activity such as classes, masterclasses or choreography so that the mentors are assisting artists to develop new work across an entire year, as an example. This is an alternative to flying someone up for an intensive, for a short period of time.  Cy Starkman, General Manager said “Not only does it make it more affordable, but we also have funding from the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation to pay your mentors for you so you don’t have to worry about those costs.  All we need is your idea and your commitment to developing your artistic practice.”
In the past, artists have been left with the technical challenge of recording their works in some form and shipping to their mentor meaning that it can be some time before feedback is received from the mentor.  With the development of space and technology at 67 Bath street, artists will be working in real time with high-quality sound and image.
“If you’re thinking about putting work into the festival but feel that you need some developmental support, this would be a great opportunity,” said Cy Starkman.
Expression of Interest close on the 30th April 2018.