For over 50 years the historic gold mining town of Hill End has been the site of significant artistic creativity and inspiration for some of Australia’s best known artists including Jean Bellette, Russell Drysdale, Margaret Olley, John Olsen, Ben Quilty, Jeffrey Smart, and Brett Whiteley.
Bathurst Regional Art Gallery plays a significant role in contributing to the cultural development of Hill End through its management of the highly successful Hill End Artists in Residence Program (Hill End AiR).
The Hill End AIR has underpinned the cultural fabric of Hill End since the first pilot residencies were undertaken 1994. Since then, it has grown into one of Australia's most celebrated residency programs with over 350 artists from across Australia and the world continuing a tradition of creative response to Hill End going back to the 1940s.
The Hill End AiR temporarily closed in 2022 to allow the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) to undertake a formal Expression of Interest (EOI) process for the renewal of leases for historic residency cottages, Haefligers, and Murrays. Bathurst Regional Council has held leases on these properties since 1999 and 2001 respectively.
The EOI is being undertaken in line with NSW Government policy requiring an open market process for lease negotiations. Evaluation of EOIs will be guided by the statutory Plan of Management for the Hill End Historic Site which includes a strong focus on supporting and promoting Hill End’s artistic heritage and community.
Bathurst Regional Art Gallery will continue to support the cultural life of the village through activities, partnerships, and initiatives including exhibitions, residential intensives, and commissions.