A group of Bugaldie enthusiasts started things off as The Bugaldie Potters and Painters with among them – Jean Webster – June Chappell – Dulcie McCulligh also Peter and Margot Haley. These dedicated artists established a support group and network that channelled talented artists into a cohesive unit to promote fledgling art and artists in Coonabarabran and its surrounds. The wondrously shaped Warrumbungle Mountains that overlook the town, were and still are, often used as a source of inspiration.
Some time later in 1973, The Warrumbungle Arts & Crafts Inc. emerged and became established in Coonabarabran. This could possibly be one of the oldest community organisations in the town.
WAACI (as we are fondly known), has been going from strength to strength ever since, with currently some 60 or so members on the books.
Over the years the Art & Craft Exhibition had quietly evolved into an event of some renown. Not only had the Exhibition moved around from different venues it had also moved around on the calendar over the years. With the emergence of the “Festival of the Stars”, which was always held in mid to late October, WAACI’s Art & Craft Exhibition then became an important part too of this new local Warrumbungle event. WAACI had not only found a home on the local calendar but also a home at the Coonabarabran Dramatic Hall. This was a charming intimate location but was very restrictive because of its small size. Despite the restrictive nature the Exhibition had many successful years at this hall despite the overcrowding but it did not allow for any expansion. Thus when the Expo was suggested to compliment and expand the Exhibition, the Coonabarabran Town Hall was the only sensible next move. This then allowed the Exhibition to be staged in a much roomier fashion. Thus the first ARTS EXPO was held in 2007. Now the art was located in a brighter location with the craft especially able to be spread out for a better showing and the sculptures too were able to be prominently displayed. Everyone was happier particularly those members who laboured over the hanging and displaying and in particular the viewing public.
These two combined events, (Expo and Exhibition), complimented each other so well and offered so much more for the viewing public to explore and enjoy. With the provision of a manned kitchen to provide light lunches with morning and afternoon teas the transition was complete. With two successful combined events paving the way the coming year is gearing up to be another great season.
WAACI has slowly evolved and grown over the years to the progressive organisation it is today. The growth in the last ten years alone has been especially daring and innovative and this new direction is a real blueprint for the future. The combination of the Arts & Crafts Exhibition with the Arts Expo has produced measurable growth and a wider local as well as national exposure.