THE Hedland Arts Council is poised to undergo a dramatic three-year expansion with a new studio, increased funding and assistance from Country Arts WA and BHP Billiton.
The $360,000 partnership will last three years, with BHP Billiton putting in the cash and Country Arts WA providing the Hedland Arts Council, also known as HARTZ, with professional advice and assistance in establishing regular cash flow and expanding its arts program.
Funding will be distributed through three annual payments of $120,000, greatly increasing HARTZ’s annual funding from the $20,000 it received from BHP Billiton.
Country Arts WA is a not-for-profit group that acts on behalf of the state and federal governments to deliver aits development and touring arts programs.
It is the first time Country Arts WA has entered into a partnership with a company.
BHP Billiton contributed extra money towards a workshop and future exhibition space, the McKay Street Studio, in Port Hedland, which opened earlier this month.
HARTZ has a strong emphasis on ‘grassroots arts’ and plans to use the studio to hold exhibitions by local artists and encourage community involvement through workshops in multiple art mediums.
Previously, HARTZ did not have its own premises.
Country Arts WA regional arts development manager Jessica Anderson said the partnership was “more like a mentorship, BHP are the enabler with the resources and Country Arts WA are there to support HARTZ”.
“The funding will be used to go towards salaries, governance training, a new business plan for the next three years and promotion and advertising,” she said.
Country Arts WAhas worked with HARTZ to establish a 12-person committee.
Country Arts WA CEO Jessica Machin said the purpose of the partnership was to expose HARTZ to a statewide network.
“We are working with them to find areas of growth ... and will help them look at broadening their programming,” Ms Machin said.
The group is developing a website and the injection of capital has enabled HARTZ to employ Diana Boyd as a part-time coordinator.
“HARTZ was purely run by volunteers before ... in its heyday it had 200 members but last year it had two,” Ms Boyd said.
Ms Boyd said 15 members signed up in the first month since it received the extra funding, which she attributed to having the new premises.
HARTZ will meet with BHP Billiton and Country Arts WA on a quarterly basis to review the performance and goals of the partnership.
In addition to raising local awareness of the group, the plan is to conduct four workshops in the first six months and increase membership to 35 people within the next 12 months.
Ms Boyd said HARTZ was hoping to have a youth arts festival and a writers’ festival, with the aim of attracting writers from Perth to Hedland. It is also hoping to increase the frequency and variety of its workshops.
Ms Boyd said the first monthly committee meeting was scheduled for late January, where programming would be discussed. HARTZ plans to start its programs towards the end of February.
HARTZ was formed in 1994 and was instrumental in the development of the Hedland Art Awards and the Courthouse Gallery in Port Hedland.