Steph Bitter, Anne Conway, Bill Whitbread, Jim Boy, Jess Cola and Josh Lobley.

Much respected artist Hugh Waller envisioned an arts festival to showcase and grow Bendigo arts culture.

Mr Waller’s unexpected death after a short illness in 2017 inspired his friends and colleagues to carry his dream forward for a Bendigo arts festival which is now becoming a reality.

Last month the BendArts Festival took a step towards realisation with a fundraiser at the Star Cinema.

BendArts has already been given a seeding grant.

The next BendArts Festival Music and Art Event event will be held next weekend at the Bendigo Trades Hall.

At this event, musicians will perform on stage at the venue while artists in the crowd interpret and respond to the music through different art forms and mediums.

BendArts spokesperson Tony Day said the event was a first of its kind for both the BendArts Festival and for Bendigo.

“The artists will be working away in their preferred medium while the musicians perform and people dance,” he said.

“The work will be hung on the night and available for sale.”

Mr Day said the event will be spontaneous, fun and filled with conviviality.

Bands confirmed for the event are Anchor, Junkstorm, Noisy Fractals, and Butterfly – with further acts to be announced.

Artists in attendance will include Jane Ineson, Ceilidh Meo, Kain White and Richard Atkins.

The BendArts Festival is coordinated by a dedicated committee of artists and administrators and has a Facebook membership connecting 1300 artists and audience members.

“That was something lacking before Hugh started: an immediate connected network of art folk,” Mr Day said.

After the August BendArts event there will be an official opening at a dinner held at the Bendigo Pottery on October 19.

The Bendarts Festival Music and Art Event will be held at Bendigo Trades Hall 40 View St Bendigo Saturday, August 18 from 2pm to 11pm.

Admission is $20 for BendArts Festival members, or $25 for non-members.

Beer, wine and soft drinks will be available for purchase.

Tickets will be available at the door, or may be pre ordered by emailing bendartsfestival@gmail.com.

For more information visit the festival’s website, www.bendartsfestival.com