The word 'Art' is most commonly associated with pieces of work in a gallery or museum, whether it’s a painting from the Renaissance or a modern sculpture. However, there is so much more to art than what you see displayed in galleries.

The truth is, without being aware of it, we are surrounded by art and use it on a continual basis. Most people don’t realize how much of a role art plays in our lives and just how much we rely on art in all of its forms in our everyday lives.

The Joy of Art

You may be wondering why all of these things are so important to our daily lives and that you could probably survive just fine with essential items that were non-artistic. That is just the reason why art is so valuable! While art may not be vital to fulfill our basic needs, it does make life joyful. When you look at a painting or poster you’ve chosen to hang on your living room wall, you feel happy. The sculpture or figurines on the kitchen windowsill create a sense of joy. These varieties of art forms that we are surrounded by all come together to create the atmosphere that we want to live in.

Art and Music

The importance of art in our daily lives is very similar to that of music. Just like art, music can make life extremely joyful and can have a huge effect on our mood. In the workplace in particular, music is something that can help people set the mood for what they are about to do. If you have something hard or difficult to work on or are feeling tired, an energetic song will likely wake you up and add some enthusiasm to the situation. Similarly, when stress is high, many people find that relaxing to calming music is something that eases the mind.

Inspirational Art

Inspirational art, such as posters are often found in work spaces to encourage employees to continue being productive. There is now an increasing amount of companies using art in their offices, as well as playing background music, as it is proven to actually work in making end results far better quality. There may be a piece of art that you own that you personally find motivational. Perhaps a print with a positive affirmation or quote beautifully scrolled on it or a painting of a picturesque scene of where you aim to travel to one day.

SOME REASONS WHY ORIGINAL ART IN THE HOME IS AS IMPORTANT AS A BED

1. Creates Mood
2. Adds Personal Character to the Home
3. Makes Memories
4. Provides a Colour Palette
5. Makes a Room Feel Finished
6. Inspires and Fosters Creativity
7. Conversation Starter
8. Supports Artists
9. It is an Investment
10. Creates a Livable Environment
11. Keeps the Brain Active
12. Relaxation
13. Curating Your Own Gallery is Fun!

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General Information
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent as well as the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area. Neighbouring countries include Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea to the north; the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east.

Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. It is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people. Inhabitants of Sydney are called Sydneysiders, comprising a cosmopolitan and international population.

Sydney's urban area is in a coastal basin, which is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Blue Mountains to the west, the Hawkesbury River to the north and the Royal National Park to the south.

Time
Sydney, which is in the state of New South Wales, is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). New South Wales, along with Victoria, Queensland, The Australian Capital Terriotory and Tasmania run along the eastern coast of Australia and are on Eastern Standard Time. Central Australia, including the Northern Territory and South Australia are 9.5 hours ahead of GMT on Central Standard Time.

Weather
Sydney has a temperate climate with few extremes in the weather patterns. It never snows. Summers can be very humid and wet. Note that Sydney is in the southern hemisphere and the seasons are reversed to those in Europe, the USA, and most of Asia. Sydney is a comfortable place to visit no matter when you come.

On average, the warmest month is February and the coolest month is July. The average temperature between November and March can rise above 26°C with average day time temperatures usually somewhere between 16°C and 25°C. From April to October, the temperature is somewhere between 12°C and 23°C with a coolest temperature under 8°C. You can find up to date information on the weather in Sydney at www.weather.smh.com.au.

Shopping
Sydney offers world class shopping centres, designer boutiques, department stores and speciality shops. Places to shop in the Central Business District CBD are located within easy walking distance to each other, but there are other major shopper paradise centres in the outer suburbs such as MacArthur, Chatswood, Parramatta and Penrith. The beachside suburbs also have their own collections of speciality shops as well as everything else, more suited to Sydney’s relaxed beach culture, much in contrast to its more serious business side.

Business Hours
As a general rule of thumb, business hours in Australia are Mondays to Fridays, 9am - 5pm.
Banks are open Monday - Thursday 9:30am - 4pm and on Friday from 9:30am - 5pm.
On Saturdays shops are open from 8:30am to between noon and 4pm. Many stores are also open on Sundays from 9am to 4pm.

VAT / Tax-Free Shopping
As of July 1st 2000, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) taxation system has come into effect in Australia. All previous Federal and State taxes have been abolished and a standard tax of 10% has been applied to all goods and services.

In most cases, prices on goods are normally marked inclusive of GST, so there are no surprises at the cash counter! Sometimes though, they could be marked as 'plus GST', in which case 10% of the marked price has to be added to the price of the item.

However, visitors from overseas are exempt from certain excise taxes and can get discounts at some department stores and duty free stores. By presenting your passport and plane ticket, you can get up to a third off the marked price of goods.

Tipping
Tipping is not required at restaurants or hotels. However, a 10% tip is widely accepted as a standard for good restaurant service. For other services such as room service, housemaids, taxis and theatre ushers, tips are not expected but are greatly appreciated.

Currency
The currency in Australia is the Australian Dollar (AUD$).

Banks and Exchange Offices
You can exchange foreign currency for Australian currency at banks and Foreign Exchange branches scattered throughout the Central Business District of Sydney. Note that Foreign Exchange outlets' exchange rates are worse than banks. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are available throughout the city round the clock.

Insurance
The Conference Organising Committee or its agents will not be responsible for any medical expenses, loss or accidents incurred during the congress. Delegates are strongly advised to arrange their own personal insurance to cover medical and other expenses including accident or loss. Where a delegate has to cancel for medical reasons, the normal cancellation policy will apply.

Health
Health standards in Australia are very high. It is okay to drink tap water, as great care is taken to maintain health regulations. Australia does have a high incidence of skin cancer, however, so apply sunscreen liberally to your face and body before you spend any time in the sun. We recommend that you have health insurance before coming to Australia, as medical bills can be quite expensive for the uninsured.

Smoking Policy
Since 2 July 2007 all enclosed areas of licensed premises that are open to the public are now required to be non-smoking, according to NSW legislation. All enclosed areas of Star City Casino with the exception of private gaming rooms must also be non-smoking.

Electricity
Electricity in Australia is 220-240 volts AC. Please make sure, that your appliances are configured for the three pin Australian plug. If you cannot get one of these abroad you may be wise to wait until you get to Australia.

If you have a laptop computer you will probably find that the transformer that comes with it automatically adjusts to 110 or 240 volts. Check though. If it is able to cope with both currents you will still need an adapter for the Australian three-pin system.

How to Arrange Art

  • "People have a tendency to hang art too high," says Linda Crisolo, Art.com director of merchandising. "The center of the image should be at eye level." In living rooms, people are usually sitting, so artwork should be lower. A good way to ensure you're placing artwork at the right height is to hang it one hand width above the sofa.
  • A common problem when hanging artwork above a sofa or sideboard is that it's not in scale. Having pieces that are too small or too large will make the whole arrangement look strange. "Make sure artwork is at least two-thirds the size of the sofa or sideboard," Crisolo says. "For example, a 9-foot-long sofa should have a 6-foot-wide expanse of art above it."
  • In the bedroom, choose personal art, such as family photographs or your own photography. If you're arranging the pieces in groupings, Crisolo recommends sticking with one color theme, either all black-and-white or all color photographs.
  • "Above a mantel or fireplace is the perfect place to layer pieces," Crisolo says. "A house looks like a home when you can see layers of artwork and accessories."
  • In the kitchen, hang art in a place where it won't get damaged by water or heat. Consider placing art above an office space, near the dining table, or above open counter space. Crisolo also recommends avoiding kitchen art in the kitchen. "I tend to shy away from pictures of asparagus in the kitchen," she says. "Vintage art with traditional frames works in a traditional kitchen. In a modern kitchen, try bright colors with stainless-steel frames."
  • A symmetrical arrangement creates a striking and simple focal point. All-white frames and mats unify this grouping. "I like to use the same frames to create homogeny," says Crisolo.
  • When deciding where to hang images in your home, consider the wall space available and the arrangement of the room. "Use small pieces between windows and doors," Crisolo says. "If small items are in a space too large, the pieces look lost. With larger pieces, allow room for people to step back and admire the work."
  • Artwork collaborates with other accessories and decor to create a visual story. Make sure images, moldings, and shelves all work together. "Hang artwork in front of a bookcase, on the face of the shelf," Crisolo says. "The shelves and ledges become part of a decorating story."
  • Make sure your arrangement matches your decorating style. "Symmetrical arrangements are more traditional or formal. Asymmetrical is modern," Crisolo says. "Also look at the image and style of the frame. For cottage-style rooms, stick with vintage images or botanicals. In modern rooms, choose large and abstract pieces."

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