Creative Halloween Ideas for Kids

Halloween is coming up on October 31st, 2016. Here are some fun craft and foodie ideas for children with The Wong Side of Life!



Halloween hand masks


Paper pumpkin (lantern style)


Feet print ghosts.


Hand X-ray using cotton buds & white paint


Pumpkin style lanterns


Cotton bud skeleton


Spider web using pop sticks and wool (black or white)


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SAMAG’s event for Artists Professionals (Review)

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On the 25th July, 2015, SAMAG held a wonderful event at Cockatoo Island, discussing new voices in the contemporary arts & how the arts industry should be more diverse and how we should be cultivating the next crop of emerging artistic talent.


Fiona Winning (Head of Programming at Sydney Festival) facilitated the event. Her opening remark was egoless, stating that her generation (creatives in their 50’s +) should move aside and provide a space for the next generation of artists, showing their support and engaging with multicultural artists. She praises Sydney Festival, Underbelly Arts, Playwriting Australia, Melbourne Fringe for their ‘diversity’ approaches.

Fiona introduced the next speaker, Simon Abrahams (Creative Director at Melbourne Fringe and the Chair of Theatre Network Victoria). He spoke how Melbourne Fringe is always on the look out for new artists, different from those in the past. He mentioned the Arts Nation statistics, that the average income for creative artists is 7K and artists from Non English speaking backgrounds is likely to be 40% less and artists with a disability earn 20% lesser than the national arts average. Simon believes in quotas in order to have diversity, an affirmative action in the arts industry. He believes that when applying for funding, like grants, always develop a relationship with the person on the other side. Funding bodies do need to fulfil their quotas and when applying don’t think they are doing you a favour in fulfulling your goals and dreams, in fact you are helping & assisting them. He encourages that artists adopt that kind of mind set. Simon said artists should make connections with their peers, create conversations of the big picture and understand the broader context by working with those who are experts in their fields. Melbourne Fringe opens on the 11th August, he encourages for us to look out for their diverse programme – which he is very proud of.


The second speaker was Erica Helper (the Associate Producer of Electrofringe) spoke on how she came late into the arts in her 20’s and that not many people were like her when she entered the Victorian College of the Arts, as they were white, middle class kids. She graduated from V.C.A. and then worked at the Opera House. Her passion is working with Indigenous and culturaly diverse artists. She believes we should open up existing programmes like the Emerging Artists programmes which just caters for the under 25 year olds. She mentioned how artists should world with different communities – “catch a train and get out of your own community!” She believes in the Lab model however a smaller version of it, if you are “going to go down in your ship, make sure it’s on a small scale. Be a sponge, soak up everything, that’s why I carry around a journal everywhere!”


Nick Atkins (Producer, New Work at Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre & Board member for PACT) spoke how he mainly works in Western Sydney and that 10% of the population is there! He believes in building new audiences, working with communities, pairing up established artists with emerging artists, giving out small commission opportunities to emerging artists and commissioning 2nd stage developments.

Roslyn Helper (the artistic Director of Electrofringe, an artist interested in the intersections between art, politics & technology). Roslyn in fact quit her full time job as an accountant to fulfil her artistic, creative dream. She believes in collaborative spaces, artists connecting with one another and their audiences. She doesn’t believe that artists should live in their quiet little bubbles. Roslyn encourages artists to use the internet, like the popular Instagram platform, looking at non linear pathways.


This was a wonderful event where diversity was highlighted – the importance of working with diverse artists, authentically.

(Note in some practices people adopt the phrase #Diversity when in fact they’re not even from a diverse background nor collaborating with artists from a diverse background. SAMAG and UNDERBELLY arts are practising what they preach. I congratulate them on this successful event).

Vivid Sydney 2015

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Vivid Sydney is one of my favourite events of the year. It’s an annual festival of creativity through light, music and ideas. The seventh Vivid Sydney opened on Friday (22nd May 2015) night in Sydney city…it gets better every year!


Vivid Sydney 2015 features amazing light and sculpture displays in Circular Quay, including the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, as well as The Rocks, Walsh Bay, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont, Martin Place and Chatswood with more than 60 light installations. Many of the installations are interactive and designed for children.

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Vivid Sydney in Chatswood

In 2015, the festival also expanded to Chippendale, including the University of Sydney, and Chatswood. Around 1.5 million people are expected to come out and see the displays over 18 nights.

Vivid Sydney runs until Monday, 8 June. For more details check out the website

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Interactive sensory lights (Circular Quay)

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Interactive sensory lights (Circular Quay)

Video link of the light show at Custom’s House

Video link of the light show at MCA

The North Sydney Art Prize 2015

The North Sydney Art Prize was opened at the Coal Loader on the 7th March 2015, by Wendy Whiteley. Wendy stated that “art is a great contribution to our society” because many artists do it because of the joy it brings to them, it gives them freedom of self expression, not because they’re paid well! The crowd roared with laughter when she ended her speech with the words, “Enjoy this wonderful exhibition, there are many wonderful works and (pause) a few mediocre ones too!” Whiteley OAM (born 1941) is best known as the “goddess muse” and wife of the late artist Brett Whiteley and has become a notable cultural figure and supporter of the arts. She is also known for the restoration and landscaping of a derelict public area in Lavender Bay, Sydney, which she turned into a “magic garden” and where Brett and their daughter, Arkie Whiteley’s ashes, are buried. Special guests at this event include the former Prime Minister Bob Hawke and his wife Blanche d’Alpuget.

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Some of my favourite works on display include Marie Larraine Weir’s ‘Today-Tomorrow-Yesterday’ ink and mixed media on Arches paper, folded into a two sided book. The beautiful sandstone tunnels and the declining ruin of the timber wharf are painted beautifully and remind us of how fragile life is. I was lucky to sit next to Marie during the opening and asked her, “What inspired you to paint this?” Marie replied, “The once gritty and polluted site is now sustainable.” On the other side of the book is a wonderful abstract interpretation of chickens,  the chicken coup is also at the Coal Loader where Marie regularly paints.

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Marie Larraine Weir’s “Today-Tomorrow-Yesterday”

Suzanne Davey’s ‘The Unfurling’ is made from recycled clothes, resin, wire & paint. The Unfurling responds to the debate surrounding vulnerable populations arriving on Australian shores and the resulting costs. Individual rights and national interests are given precedence over collective human rights. She is inspired by Mena Johnson poetry.

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Suzanne Davey’s ‘The Unfurling’

‘Rapunzel’ by Tina Fox, is a giant architectural crocheted rope doll. The long hair teases us with freedom, reinventing a 200 year old fairytale to create a contemporary folklore piece.

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‘Rapunzel’ by Tina Fox

One of the winners of The North Sydney Art Prize is Ulan Murray’s ‘Equalibrium.’ This is made from recycled copper and steel. One of the environmental issues of our time is waste. Ulan’s work is looking at the planets great recycler. A transect through the ground explores the whole tree, above and below the ground like the invisibility of carbon and the oxygen cycle, the tree’s hidden attributes are one of its greatest gifts.

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Ulan Murray’s ‘Equalibrium.’

Below are other favourites at the exhibition. Alison Clarke should be congratulated for curating this wonderful sustainable exhibition.

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“Light Perception” by Jane Theau. Old spectacles & lights. Jane’s homage to spectacles.

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Angela van Boxtel

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Gloria Bohorguez Florez’s Global Veins Stage II.

This installation of threaded bones, cicada shells, feather and leaf litter invite viewers to contemplate the importance of nature and its diversity in our lives.

How to do Crowdfunding successfully

Today’s Vivid Ideas event, held at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney) was about crowdfunding –How We’re funding Creative Work Now.

Sponsored by The Walkleys and Actors Equity / M.E.A.A.

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This was a great session for anyone trying to successfully build a crowdfunding campaign. There were four fantastic speakers who’ve built successful campaigns.

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DAN ILLIC (A RATIONAL FEAR) Dan spoke of the importance of having a successful pitch to start off with. His goal was to make satirical comedy online and he needed 50k to do this. Dan firstly made a pitch video which he stresses has to be of decent quality. As your pitch video reflects the quality of your campaign and your end product. Dan also had unusual, eye-catching rewards : $200+   ( You’ll be a V.I.P. and gain access to every live show) $500+  (You’ll be a V.V.I.P. and have access to every show and a drink with a      member of his team) $1000+ (You’ll receive a t-shirt with the words “I paid $1000 for this” printed on it) $2000+ (We’ll do a show just for you!) $5000+ (You’ll get to have coffee with him on his dinghy boat) Getting key, influential people on board helped Dan’s campaign as he got Ed Coper (from GetUp) who helped him spread the word and he instantly got 12K overnight thanks to Ed. TOM DAWKINS (StartSomeGood) Tom’s StartSomeGood takes on any project that likes to make some good for the world. He said that crowdfunding isn’t new, in fact, crowdfunding helped build the Statue of Liberty in New York. Even though crowdfunding is easy money, you have to plan your campaign and most successful campaigns take approximately 90 days. (30 days in planning – leading up to your campaign, 30 days for campaigning and 30 days fulfilment followup). He stresses that your crowdfunding starts with your immediate community – friends, family, relatives, peers, (i.e. the yellow part of the circle) and it builds outwards, tribes – associates, work colleagues (i.e. the red part of the circle) then to crowds – social media connections, crowds etc (i.e. blue part of the circle).

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An important part of your campaign is your story. Ask yourself, who are you selling your story to? Know your audience. He gave us some interesting facts. SUCCESS RATES OF OTHER CROWDFUNDING PLATFORMS Kickstarter has approximately 44% success rate Pozible has approximately 50% success rate IndieGoGo has approximately 9% success rate He stresses that crowdfunding isn’t about “crowds” and when you list your campaign on one of these crowdfunding platforms, you can’t expect them to be like the whitepages where you list your event and expect the site to do the work for you and your audience will magically appear. No, you must use it only as a tool. Use your event as a reward for reaching your goal. You will fail if you don’t have a good pitch or you don’t have a community to pitch to or you don’t have any great offers. You will know if you have a good campaign if people share it with others. For example they will share it on social media – like Facebook or Twitter etc. If people don’t share your campaign, then this is a good indication that your campaign or pitch is of poor quality because people aren’t spreading the word. Motivations why we part with money: * to get more money * purchasing / shopping for an item * positive social outcome * express relationship – we want to support a friend / community. Your campaign must successfully connect with people.


NATHAN EARL (PLONK) Nathan successfully aligns crowdfunding with brands. He successfully teamed up his web series The Plonk with Tourism (e.g. Tourism N.S.W.)  He made 22 episodes in 28 days. Each episode is 3-7 minutes. He spent 9-10 months speaking with marketing teams and companies. He was the one in power, making sure corporate companies were of a good fit to his show. He didn’t give out the desperate vibe of “please back my show.” Nathan was in control and he stressed the importance of brand integration and distribution of his web series. Once distribution is in place the first time, it will then be easier to make a second series. DINO DIMITRIADIS (APOCALYPSE THEATRE COMPANY) What is important for Dino is to build an arts community around theatre and to make sure artists (actors) are paid. His story pitch is – Artists need to be paid, artists should not work for free. Dino said the conversation needs to be bigger than the pitch. (I totally agree with Dino and his pitch for this was powerful, ETHICAL and convincing, as I always like to pay / reward / feed my actors). He says so often actors end up doing Co-op / profit-share which often works out to be nothing, some artists are lucky that their transport costs are covered. Artists need to be paid. Dino’s first campaign was 5K for 15 days. He exceeded his target because his conversation was about paying ethically. He blogged about this regularly to his audience and shared his story on Facebook. He said once his vision was endorsed by key people at M.E.A.A. (The Media, Entertainment, Arts, Alliance) the message then spread like wildfire. He made sure his story was also featured in magazines, pin up boards, posters etc. This session was highly informative and useful. Like always I like sharing things I’ve learned. I hope you’ll find the above information useful to build your next crowdfunding campaign. Spread the joy!