Emerging regional artists and arts workers supported to reach the Next Level

Emerging regional artists and arts workers supported to reach the Next Level

Alanna Kusin

Eight young emerging regional artists and arts workers across WA have each received $7,500 through Regional Arts WA’s career kick-starter grants program, the Next Level Regional Grants. 



Next Level Regional Grants are part of the State Government’s Regional Arts and Culture Investment Program and are presented by Healthway Drug Aware. This year, an additional grant has been made possible with thanks to the KingKira Group.

The successful recipients of the Next Level Regional Grants are multidisciplinary theatre maker Emily Burton (19), circus director Georgia Deguara (26), country folk singer songwriter Savanah Solomon (25), illustrator Mio Angela Gadon (25), filmmaker Abby Garratt (22), rapper Jacob Gregory (22), textile artist and educator Leah Vlatko (26), and emerging curator Joo Tan (24).

Each recipient will embark on 12 months of professional creative development, building their skills and experience to further develop an arts career in regional WA.

Activities supported by the Next Level Regional Grants include:

  • Emily Burton (Mandurah) will receive mentorship from storytelling theatre company, Whiskey and Boots. Under the mentorship, Emily will develop and present a performance of their own contemporary theatre show, which will be based on stories collected from the public.
  • Georgia Deguara (Broome) will collaborate with Perth web and digital design agency, Start Digital to learn how to better showcase her current work online. Georgia hopes to upskill her online knowledge to benefit future projects, become a better arts worker, and to increase her scope as an artist.
  • Savanah Solomon (Woodridge) will record, release and promote an EP of her original songs. The release will be launched with a free community event in the Wheatbelt.
  • Mio Angela Gadon (Exmouth) will develop a solo exhibition of her illustrations, exploring the theme of a quarter life crisis, from her perspective of being a migrant from the Philippines.
  • Abby Garratt (Manjimup) will write, direct and produce her second short film titled Paradise Valley, a feminist western set in the late 19th century and filmed on location at heritage buildings around her hometown of Manjimup.
  • Jacob Gregory (Broome), will work with Scott Griffiths of Downsyde to further refine his skills in writing, recording and producing hip hop music. Together, they will collaborate on five new tracks which will be launched at a performance at Goolarri Media’s Gimme Club.
  • Leah Vlatko (Geraldton) will create a body of work for her first solo exhibition, an exploration of fungi through the medium of crochet. She will further develop her skills and experience as a textile artist, learning from mentors and experienced artists across the Mid West region.
  • Joo Tan (Port Hedland) is the recipient of the inaugural KingKira Next Level Grant. Joo will be mentored by established curator Anna Louise Richardson, where she will develop skills to curate her first exhibition working with Pilbara youth groups as part of the Open Borders project.

Regional Arts WA CEO Paul MacPhail says continued support for young and emerging artists and arts workers is key to long-term arts and culture careers in the regions.

“We are delighted to announce that this year we can support eight outstanding young artists and arts workers through the Next Level Regional Grants. These grants will enable the recipients to develop their arts practice, build their networks and grow their careers.

We are sadly seeing a reduction in future grants targeted at young artists and youth arts, so it is especially satisfying to be able to give these emerging artists and arts workers a jumpstart, allowing them to further develop themselves as professionals in their fields.”


To find out more about the Next Level Grant Program, visit regionalartswa.org.au/funding/nlrg

Images above: Emily Burton on stage at Mandurah Performing Arts Centre. Photo by George Burton. | Georgia Deguara. Photo by Emmaline Creative. | Savanah Solomon. Photo by Renae Harvey Photography. | Mio Angela Gadon. Photo by Exclusive Photography, Perth. | Abby Garratt self-portrait. Photo by Abby Garratt. | Jacob Gregory performing at the Headspace Follow Your Instincts event. Photo by Emily Cole, courtesy of Headspace. | Leah Vlatko. Photo by Emma Daisy. | Joo Tan installing an exhibition at Courthouse Gallery+Studio, Port Hedland. Works pictured by Rachel Taylor. Photo by Melanie Neville, courtesy of The Junction Co.

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