Artist bio - Lea Czikowski

Lea Czikowski is a community artist facilitator, documentarian and qualified teacher specialising in inclusive arts programs tailored to marginalised groups, in particular artist of all abilities. Working across a range of mediums, Lea applies her visual arts, pedagogic and community development skills to design and facilitate short and long-term community arts workshops that cater to all abilities. Most recently, she has been employed as a community artist facilitator within local government and private organisations, including Arts Access Victoria, the Port Phillip council’s innovative Joint Councils Access for All Abilities (JCAAA) and Access Inc, a private not-for-profit based in Melbourne's Eastern suburbs.

Lea incorporates dynamic play-based methodologies, utilising the visual, theatrical and digital artistic realms to deliver high-quality arts outcomes that are both educationally and artistically valid. Lea is also a skilled curator, having recently curated the JCAAA’s annual art exhibition to showcase the creative output of participants across a range of programs with which she is involved. Lea has also worked in Asia, South & Central America and in New Zealand in various community arts and development roles, including a year-long tenure as a community development artist facilitator in poverty stricken communities in the Philippines.

Lea is an active advocate for creative and artistic education as a tool in the fight against poverty. She has employed social justice models to facilitate creative programs for a variety of humanitarian organisations, including Amnesty International and Oxfam. Lea is currently facilitating private ‘story-scaping’ workshops – a process that she has pioneered with several co-arts facilitators. Story-scaping involves the utilisation of various arts and multi-media tools to create stories that are not reliant oral and written communication styles in order to be accessible to a wide range of artists of varying abilities. Story-scaping is an evolving multi-arts process that relies on group participation, is non-hierarchical and results in high quality multi-arts outcomes 9for example a visual moving story that can be screened at festival/within schools etc).

In collaboration with prolific South Australian wearable and inflatable artist Evelyn Roth, Lea is also Victorian agent and core facilitator for Evelyn Roth's Nylon Zoo in Melbourne, an interactive story theatre that caters to the young and young at heart 
www.evelynrothoz.com. The Nylon Zoo is a magical interactive experience that features a fantastical (and very friendly) GIANT INFLATABLE SALMON, wild & whimsical animal costumes, dance, music-making, theatre & story time at festivals, events and institutions across Victoria and New South Wales www.facebook.com/thenylonzoo.

Lea is also the proprietor of ‘My Red Dress,’ an arts-based business platform from which she produces and sells a number of her own arts products, including short illustrated stories, paintings, still and moving imagery and artisanal condiments
www.facebook.com/myreddress. And some ramblings to be found at http://iheartmyreddress.blogspot.com.au/.  Lea also creates, collects and captures love hearts for usage in public art installations, in small acts of kindness and for www.foundlovehearts.blogspot.com.au. Her love heart art is part of a long-term project, The Wishing Tree, which focuses on earth magic, plastic fantastic, craftivistic creativity, visual story and covert creativity. This information will now self destruct (into a million little rainbow-coloured love hearts).