Supporter Profile: Kelly Heylen

Kelly Blainey Photo RS2

Ever had that crazy dream where you can make a sustainable living from your art?! Kelly Heylen from the Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise (BMEE) and MTNS MADE campaign is working hard to make that dream a reality for local arts practitioners.

Here at The Last Babushka Doll we’re proud to be supported by BMEE and MTNS MADE – and we caught up with Kelly to talk about her passion for supporting local cultural activities.

How does your work with BMEE create opportunities for artists?

My role in the creative industries sector involves economic development activities to make the creative industries more sustainable. I’m basically working to creative strong industries that give job opportunities to artists – so we don’t all have to work as waitresses on the weekend! It’s a very cool role.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I get to meet fantastic creative people in the Blue Mountains and find out about their art practice, their passion and the vision they have for themselves and other artists. I try to find out what skills and resources they need to create and maintain businesses – I will look at what they need and help meet that gap, while connecting them with like-minded people. It’s so rewarding.

Can you give us an example of a great success story?

Absolutely. In 2015 I held a film muster for people either working in or wanting to work in the film industry. It was a horrible, raining day and over 60 people turned up. One audience member was a local award-winning filmmaker who wanted to make his second feature. He thought he’d have to go to Sydney to make his film. However, at the muster he basically met his whole production team – he met screenwriters, musicians, lighting people, sound people, etc, all there in the room together. He went on to shoot the film with 100% local cast and crew and created 35 new local jobs, plus numerous interns for film students.

How did the MTNS MADE campaign come about?

After the 2013 bushfires the BMEE received a grant from the council’s social and economic recovery fund. We used the grant to create a brand identity for the Blue Mountains, with fantastic input from the community. MTNS MADE is a great reflection of how people feel about living and working in the Blue Mountains – it’s about connectedness and authenticity. It’s bold, simple and honest.

How can artists use the MTNS MADE campaign to promote their work?

Artists can list themselves on the MTNS MADE online directory and use the brand in their work in whichever way they choose, so it sits alongside their work rather than overpowering it. They can also check out the MTNS MADE Symposium on 24-25 June 2016, with Jess Scully from Vivid Ideas as keynote speaker. There will be a day of amazing panels, talks and workshop – all about how to make a living from your art.

Why do you think it’s important to support projects like ‘The Last Babushka Doll’ film?

In the Blue Mountains we have such a creative community – it’s a beautiful place with artists making beautiful work – but we’ve been very shy about telling the rest of the world how good we are! By supporting really amazing creative projects like ‘The Last Babushka Doll’ film we can showcase our local talent, our stunning natural environment and tell the rest of the world that we’re here.

Set in the mystical Blue Mountains, ‘The Last Babushka Doll’ is a film about a paramedic’s most confronting case – will he follow rules to prolong a patient’s suffering or risk his career by ending the patient’s pain? Visit the homepage to find out more.