Announcement | $24M investment in Creative Regions Program
Foresight for arts and culture as a powerful regional capacity builder rewarded with $24M investment in Creative Regions Program
While all eyes have been on Western Australia’s growth fuelled resource industry in recent times, four years ago Country Arts WA, the state’s peak regional arts body, called on the State to open its eyes to the wide ranging benefits delivered to regional communities through culture and arts.
Today, in a joint announcement by Culture and Arts Minister The Hon. John Day and Regional Development Minister Terry Redman, the details of an aptly named Creative Regions program were unveiled highlighting a $24 million investment in regional arts and culture over four years.
Jessica Machin, CEO of Country Arts WA congratulated the foresight and leadership of the State Government in the allocation of funds.
She said a great deal of work had gone into the building of strong partnerships and advocacy to demonstrate the powerful contribution arts and culture makes in supporting the vibrancy of regional WA and this had been recognised and rewarded by the joint announcement.
“In this current environment the government’s investment is far sighted in recognising the capacity building benefits delivered through arts and culture and we look forward to working with the State Government and CircuitWest on the roll out of Creative Regions,” said Ms Machin.
The Creative Regions program is the largest and most significant investment in regional arts in Western Australia and across the country and Country Arts WA will ensure a strong return on investment for the state and the benefit of regional communities.
“This investment is crucial in these times of shifting populations and job losses,” said Ms Machin. The program will have a major social impact on the regions. It will increase visitor interest and enhance the vibrancy and liveability of regional WA.”
Country Arts WA will be charged with managing Scheme 4 of the program which will expand on existing partnerships and develop new partnerships and programs to provide services to regionally based arts organisations, artists and art workers across all art forms.
Programs will be informed by regional funding priorities identified in a 2013 survey which revealed strong support for the arts from regional people who indicated a desire for the arts to be included in their lives, saw value in investing in the people located in their communities, and recognised the many parts of life that are positively influenced by engagement with the arts.
A desire to have more arts activities in regional communities was endorsed with strong interest in experiences that offered tangible benefits to participants through workshops, master classes, and artist-in-residence programs, are examples of ways regional communities could learn new skills, become more productive and enjoy a richer life.
Ms Machin said the regional arts sector has a strong track record of providing an excellent return on investment a minimum $3 return on every $1 invested, which would be expanded by new partnerships. She said the investment would significantly contribute to the sense of community and amenity that is vital to regional, rural and remote living.
“Our first priority will be to address the unmet need through our Core Arts Fund and support grassroots regional arts and culture organisations which are the foundation of arts and social development in the regions,” said she said.
Ms Machin said this regional arts investment that will enhance regional WA’s appeal and liveability had been influenced by Country Arts WA’s 2020nine Manifesto created at its last regional arts state conference, Open Your Eyes, which had included nine concrete steps to support capacity building in Western Australia through regional arts and culture.
The Royalties for Regions Creative Regions Program is delivered by the State Government through the Department of Regional Development and the Department of Culture and the Arts.
Overview of Scheme 4
Scheme Four of the Royalties for Regions – Creative Regions program will provide a boost to the Country Arts WA’s Core Arts Fund and also offer a new fund for regional artists and organisations. There will be increased funding for youth activities, support for Country Arts WA Focus Region Initiative as well as support for programs that will foster partnerships and collaborations between regional organisations, regional artists and State Government funded specialised peak organisations who run regional programs.
As a result of the State’s $24M investment funded through Royalties for Regions and Department of Culture and the Arts there will be an increase in quality performing arts experiences, a high level of local government engagement, grassroots organisations creating their own world class arts programs and festivals, enviable music touring and writing circuits, schools being a place of arts, cultural and academic learning, a proud living Aboriginal culture and cultural tourism attractions and events.
The Creative Regions program funding will benefit the regions in the following ways:
- Unlock human potential and increase employment in the arts
- Reduce volunteer burn out
- Ensure the sustainability of the organisations which are already subject to transient communities, over-committed individuals on their volunteer committees, age and gender imbalance on committees, geographic isolation, higher service delivery costs than the metro area, limited technical or specialist skill base for volunteers and employed staff, fluctuations of seasonality (high, low season in tourism, farming)
- Reduce pressures associated with applying for multiple small grants to secure a core base of funding and push organisations into over-extending
- Allow the organisations to employ qualified and skilled staff at an appropriate wage
- Encourage and promote strategic alliances and projects
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