Arts and Cultural Centre


Tuesday - Sunday 9.30am - 4.30pm
23 Maitland Road, Townhead Park, Singleton


The Art of Being Here
Vivien Dwyer
15 July – 25 September 2022
Opening: 6pm Friday 8 July at Singleton Arts + Cultural Centre
Admission: Free

The Art of Being Here is an exhibition that celebrates many years of momentary observations by visual storyteller Vivien Dwyer. Since moving to Singleton with her husband John in the 1970s, Vivien has recorded her experiences through a prolific series of artist’s sketchbooks. These exquisite works reflect her deep immersion and presence in a world that shifts quickly around us. More than simply providing quick drawings or studies, Vivien’s sketchbooks communicate the artist’s singular focus on truly seeing and recording what is before her, in all its profound detail. Here, the act of documentation is intrinsically connected to the artist herself, and the sketchbook provides Vivien with a trusted means to navigate her surroundings and indulge her unending curiosity. These books are both unedited personal diaries of her experiences and unique snapshots of her place in time, which raise the ordinary to extraordinary. 

Vivien has completed some 46 sketchbooks over the last forty years. Many books specifically focus on the beautiful heritage buildings and gardens of the local Singleton area, while others tell the story of changing land use in the Hunter Valley. Several of the sketchbooks present Vivien’s responses as an embedded artist-in-residence, carefully reproducing the locations she is drawn to, sometimes by invitation, sometimes by chance and sometimes after years of wishful planning. 

Behind the sketchbooks are layers of history, stories and events that deeply connect and bind the local community. Vivien’s works undoubtedly serve as keepers of memory; their importance reflected in Kit Foggo’s quote:

“…invest in your memories because no one can take them away from you and they only become more valuable to you with time.”

The sketchbook pages come with both illustrated and written observations by the artist. Each page witnesses Vivien’s physical presence in the ‘here and now’ and provides a testament to a distinct moment in time and place.

While Vivien Dwyer’s sketchbooks are the main focus of The Art of Being Here, the exhibition also includes watercolours, paintings and prints that were developed from her sketchbook process. Many of the works on display have been kindly loaned to the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre by their owners for the duration of the exhibition - we extend our gratitude to the lenders for their great generosity in supporting the exhibition.

At selected times during the exhibition, Vivien will be available in the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre as artist-in-residence, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to directly observe her skills and hear more about the many projects she has undertaken. 

Vivien Dwyer: Artist in Residence
Dates:  Thursdays 10am – 2pm on 4, 11, 18 and 25 August and 1, 8, 15 and 22 September 2022
Admission:  Free

 Vivien Dwyer is both artist and storyteller. Her current exhibition at the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre, The Art of Being Here, focuses on a selection of sketchbooks and developed works that have been completed by the artist over the last forty years. Many of Vivien’s sketchbooks include watercolours and drawings of heritage buildings and gardens in Singleton and the Hunter Valley, with others referring to changing land use in the Hunter Valley. Vivien’s travels and work in the local area have provided her with a wealth of knowledge and some amazing stories of opportunity and coincidence that she will be available to share. 

Vivien will be working in the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre at the times listed above - visitors are invited to drop in to chat with the artist and to observe her artmaking in progress. A one-hour tour and discussion will be available on each scheduled Thursday at 11am, with the artist demonstrating her sketchbook style for the remainder of the day. Individuals and small groups are welcome (bookings not required). For larger groups, please contact SACC at

Artist Talks: In Conversation with Vivien Dwyer
Admission:  Free (bookings required)

Vivien Dwyer’s current exhibition at the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre, The Art of Being Here, focuses on a selection of sketchbooks and developed works that have been completed by the artist over the last forty years. This series of artist talks relates closely to the exhibition’s content. Vivien will discuss the many stories behind her detailed sketchbooks, showing how a sketchbook can focus our existence in a moment, wherever we may be at any time. Each page is produced on site, building memories and history that remain long after the work has left the easel. 

Vivien Dwyer: Local Heritage and the Sketchbook  
The first talk in this series considers the sketchbook in terms of local history. Vivien will share her perspective on recording aspects of Singleton’s heritage, also showing video footage from past exhibitions and events.

Tuesday 16 August 10 – 11.30am 
Book here

 Vivien DwyerMonet’s Garden and Giverny  
This artist talk will focus on Vivien’s immersion in Monet’s Garden and her time living in Giverny, France in the late 1990s. This experience was filled with charming views and chance meetings, which helped to shape the artist’s work.  

Tuesday 30 August 10 – 11.30am
Book here

 Vivien Dwyer: From Monet to the Military 
In this presentation, Vivien will discuss her experiences in recording the Royal Military College at Duntroon; two local gardeners who were just as passionate as those in Monet’s garden; her observations on the nature of war and peace; and the challenges of creating a published work from a sketchbook.

Tuesday 13 September 10 – 11.30am
Book here

 Vivien Dwyer: Back to Being HERE
In the final artist talk of the series, Vivien Dwyer will reflect on the evolving value of the sketchbook, from being understood as a tool for recording to becoming the commissioned artwork. Vivien will also discuss the process of daily journaling for recording memories and providing a sense of purpose and general wellbeing. 

A light morning tea will be available at this event.

Saturday 24 September 10am – 12pm
Book here

For more information or assistance with booking contact Faye Neilson: or 02 6578 7305


The Singleton Civic Art Collection is the result of a 38-year tradition of Singleton artists and the Rotary Club of Singleton on Hunter of holding the annual Singleton Art Show. These works will be on rotation in the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre from 6 March 2022.


The $4.08million building was funded in partnership between Singleton Council and a $2.787million Create NSW grant, and boasts more than 300 square metres of state-of-the-art gallery space, and two artists' workshops including wet and digital studios. The centre will also house Singleton’s Civic Art collection. 

The Arts and Culture Centre has been designed in keeping with the Townhead Park MasterPlan, and in conjunction with existing facilities on the site including the Visitor Information Centre, café and playground. It will transform this important location off the Hunter Expressway and New England Highway into a hub for visitors, the Singleton community, arts and culture, recreation and leisure.