One of the world’s biggest fringe festivals, a stunning street art scene and key regulatory changes have been hailed as catalysts for Perth’s progression from dullsville into a destination.
The extraordinary landscape and ecology of the western edge of this continent demand a response. For 50,000 years artists have documented their encounters and transformed knowledge with their experiences of living here. This place is a catalyst for new ideas and new approaches that generate a sense of urgency and of making do. It is a space that can only be inhabited through bold action. That imperative continues to transform the life of Perth and its citizens.
Until the 1960s, Perth was just another small town at the extremity of the British Empire, fiercely proud and simultaneously self-conscious of its isolation. Now the city is a vibrant cultural community that welcomes each new year with a cavalcade of cultural activity initiated by the Perth Festival and the Fringe. Throughout the year, it is a vibrant space where cultural activities connect individuals and inspire communication that transcends barriers of language, ability, and socio-economic divisions. The wide variety of music, theatre, literature, and visual arts performance, publications and events creates a crowded calendar of opportunities to be entertained, inspired and informed.
There is well-established empirical evidence that confirms the role of the arts in contributing to our individual and community well-being at the cultural, social and economic levels. Not only their contribution through cultural tourism but also through the role of our major cultural institutions in promoting cultural diversity by acting as a catalyst for cross-cultural dialogue, which connects people from diverse backgrounds and across generations. The arts provide both a lens and a mirror, enabling us to see our world more clearly and to understand our place within it.
Perth’s location in the same geographic zone as two-thirds of the world’s population provides the perfect launching pad for a re-examination of the importance of the cultural dimension in all aspects of contemporary life. By facilitating a deeper understanding of our own culture and having respect for the culture of others, we can forge enduring political and commercial partnerships. These relationships will not only generate a more profitable future but also significantly raise our profile within our region. Our rich cultural life continues to enhance the vibrancy and liveability of our city, and that is an extremely worthwhile investment.