06/12/2018 - 09:41

Contemporary music a catch for Freo Arts

06/12/2018 - 09:41

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Fremantle Arts Centre has developed a diverse range of revenue streams, including contemporary music and arts training courses, to fund local artists.

Contemporary music a catch for Freo Arts
Jim Cathcart says Fremantle Arts Centre utilises funds from concerts and courses to provide a living for artists. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Fremantle Arts Centre has developed a diverse range of revenue streams, including contemporary music and arts training courses, to fund local artists.

The centre provides a variety of experiences for the general public, from courses in ceramics, painting and jewellery, to art exhibitions and the popular south lawn contemporary music concerts.

Fremantle Arts Centre director Jim Cathcart told Business News the organisation received $1.5 million a year in funding from the City of Fremantle, and $720,000 in government grants. However, this amount was used primarily to cover the venue’s upkeep.

In order to provide more funding for artists and exhibitions, the organisation draws significant revenue from additional avenues, including $600,000 a year from courses, another $600,000 from the centre’s shop, and about $325,000 from its annual three-day Christmas bazaar.

Mr Cathcart said courses held the additional function of employing artists in a range of disciplines, allowing them to earn a wage in addition to their creative work.

More than 4,500 adults and children will attend the courses within a year.

The centre’s largest revenue stream comes from the ownership of a bar for south lawn concerts, which have an audience capacity of 3,400.

Mr Cathcart said the bar turned over $700,000 a year.

“Fundamentally, [south lawn concerts] are a venue-for-hire scenario,” he said.

“There are certain costs that we have to bear – putting in all the infrastructure, toilets, security.

“What we do on top of that is run the bar, and that’s the big stream.

“The surplus generated from that, we put back into other parts of the program.”

Mr Cathcart said the south lawn concerts appealed for a number of reasons, one of which being the experience of an outdoors venue.

The Perth weather was ideal for this style of concert, he said, and there was high demand for bars and performance events that were outdoors.

“Many people’s first experience of FAC nowadays could be a south lawn concert,” he said.

“They come here and they have a magical experience; it’s beautiful, it’s on the radar, they know who we are.

“We also gulp them up in our database.”

Mr Cathcart said the high number of return visits to the Fremantle Arts Centre was due to the variety of experiences on offer.

He said it was crucial as an arts organisation to identify revenue streams beyond the more typical forms of art such as exhibitions.

For the Fremantle Arts Centre, this had included recognition of the importance of and demand for contemporary music events.

“The thing about visual arts is there’s no entry fee,” Mr Cathcart said.

“It’s all money out the door, it’s free.

“So this is all about making things affordable and accessible.”

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