The Oasis: Creativity on the Fringe of the Desert

The OASIS is a Small Town Transformations project based in Rainbow, North West, Victoria.

The Cambridge dictionary describes an oasis as a place in a desert where there is water,..plants and trees and sometimes a village or town.

Perched between the Big and Little Desert’s Rainbow – with its historic buildings, majestic palm trees, breath-taking sunsets, amazing people, thriving agriculture and resilient attitude – is an oasis. 

Between now and the end of 2018 the Small Town Transformation project aims to make this oasis even lusher, stronger and more inviting. We’ll create a low water garden, a place to exercise, skate, make beautiful music and get your creative juices flowing. 

It will be an oasis of plants, art, sights, sounds and smells – It will lure strangers to the town, our favourite sons and daughter back to reconnect and put more spring and pride in the steps of our locals. Creating renewed purpose and confidence about a sustainable future. 

Small Town Transformations

The Small Town Transformation program invited small towns across Victoria to imagine what transformation might mean for their town. After an intensive selection process, six small towns of less than 2,000 people were awarded $350,000 each, over two years, for projects that would realise their big ideas. Read more here.


Rainbow is a special country town – situated in a rich agricultural district, right on the edge of the Big Desert and its vast Mallee wilderness areas.

Read more here.

The Oasis: Creativity on the Fringe of the Desert

The Oasis project reinvents a historic school building in Rainbow into a pivotal site for creative production, exhibition and cultural connection.


Through a three-stage artistic program of workshops and events, collaborative creative activities will explore environmental, spiritual and narrative aspects of the town and surrounding area. This project will establish a vital and ongoing relationship with the local Aboriginal community, initiate new connections to Southeast Asian creative groups, and strengthen existing local bonds.


A network between the school site, town centre, silo, gallery and artist in residence program will be synthesized to form an integrated town-complex for community activity. By facilitating unique and diversified cultural and creative activities, Rainbow will be transformed into a fertile and thriving hub. In turn, this will minimize isolation, encourage openness, exchange cultural knowledge and promote artistic excellence.

The Oasis school building forms a central connector between a series of buildings, businesses, spaces and natural locations throughout the town. This school will become a pivotal site for creative production with studios and exhibition space for various collaborative and interactive productions (animation, film, photography, movement, music, performance). Equally,
the school grounds will act as a valuable recreation space for the community with the addition of the community gym and new skate park. At present, there is not a location like this in the town. It will be used to produce or exhibit creative work, but also for play, rest, reflection, communion and recreation.

© 2017 The Oasis: Creativity on the Fringe of the Desert.

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The Small Town Transformations program is a Victorian Government initiative delivered by Regional Arts Victoria.