10/06/2015 - 10:44

Government comes good with $24m for regional arts

10/06/2015 - 10:44

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Country Arts WA has welcomed a $24 million state funding program announced today in Bunbury as the biggest and most significant investment in arts and culture in regional Australia.

Theatre Kimberley Sandfly Circus Photo: Steve Cutts

Country Arts WA has welcomed a $24 million state funding program announced today in Bunbury as the biggest and most significant investment in arts and culture in regional Australia.

The funding announcement for the four-year program, which will begin in July, comes two years after a commitment by the Barnett government before the 2013 state election.

As the state’s peak regional arts body, Country Arts WA will manage one of five schemes, worth $6 million over four years.

Under Country Arts WA's scheme 17 organisations across regions including the Kimberley, Mid West and Goldfields will receive an immediate injection of funds.

Those organisations include Theatre Kimberley, Exmouth Cultural Arts Centre, the ARTS Narrogin, Nannup Music Festival, Denmark Arts Council, Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council, and Esperance Community Arts.

Later this year Country Arts WA will announce a further funding opportunity that regional and rural organisations, artists and local government can apply to.

In total, under Country Arts WA's scheme more than 50 per cent of the $6 million will go towards regional arts organisations and projects, while about 30 per cent will go towards partnerships and the remainder will be spent on professional development and growing skills and capabilities in regional communities.

The other schemes will upgrade venues, increase the skills of local arts groups, expand funding to regionally-based artists and organisations, boost the number of touring shows and assist Aboriginal arts centres.

Country Arts WA chief executive Jessica Machin said the state government had shown great foresight and leadership making the biggest and most significant investment in regional arts in Australia.

“In these times of shifting populations and job losses this investment is crucial and the program will have a major social impact on the regions,” she said.

“It will increase visitor interest and enhance the vibrancy and liveability of regional WA.”

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said greater arts and cultural programs would also increase opportunities for residents. 

“The program will ... act as a catalyst for attracting and retaining skilled workers and families to regional areas,” he said.

Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said the program would extend programs out of major regional centres and into smaller and more remote communities.

“On the ground, the program will ensure there is a viable touring circuit, well-equipped venues, more touring shows, and professional support for regional artists and communities,” he said.

Chamber of Arts and Culture WA executive director Henry Boston said he was pleased to see details on the ambitious Creative Regions program.

“The increased investment in people, programs and places is much needed across the state,” he said.

“It is essential that as many people as possible are able to access and engage in arts and culture if we are to truly unlock the potential of our creative resources.”

 

 

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