Looking back on 2022

Looking back on 2022

Regional Arts WA

As 2022 comes to an end, we reflect on the year that was at Regional Arts WA. Here’s just a few of our highlights from the past twelve exciting months.

We distributed over $2m to support 120+ projects

Image: Performers Myla Rose, Lena Greyson, Anne Sorensen and Nari Lees at Denmark Arts’ Waterways Launch in Kwoorabup/Denmark River. Photo by Brendon Manuel.

It was another big year for regional arts funding, with our annual Project, Quick Response, YCulture and Next Level grant programs taking off once again.

We also delivered the one-off Cultural Tourism Accelerator Program, which supported over 60 tourism initiatives including the Broome Fringe Festival, Esperance Wildflower Festival, and CineFestOz Albany. See the full list of recipients here.

With thanks to our new program partner, the KingKira Group, we were able to offer an additional Next Level Regional Grant this year. This meant that 8 young, emerging regional artists were supported in their artistic and professional development. These exceptional young artists from across the State span the fields of circus, textiles, music, filmmaking, visual arts curation, and theatre. We’re excited to keep working with them into 2023! Meet the artists here.     

We celebrated artists’ journeys

Image: Mana Bennett, the Regional Artist of the Month in March. Photo by Sita Bennett.

2022 was our third year of running the Artist of the Month program. Over the year, we celebrated 12 artists from all 9 regions across our website and social media. From Broome-based photographer Michael Jalaru-Torres (January) to Denmark-based writer Renee Pettitt-Schipp (July) and current Artist of the Month, fashion designer Letisha Shaw from Coolgardie – artists spanned a huge range of mediums and were a showcase of some of regional WA’s brightest talent. Find out more about the artists here.

We published a book

Image: Hon. David Templeman MLA with Regional Arts WA Board Member, Grace Crogan and CEO Dr Pilar Kasat. Photo by Daniel James Grant.

In September, we launched heart of the community, a collection of stories about fifteen regional arts organisations and some of the extraordinary people who make the arts in regional WA. We celebrated the release of the book with an exhibition and launch event at the State Library of WA, with attendance from some VIPs – including Minister for Culture and the Arts, Hon. David Templeman MLA, Jane Kelsbie MLA, and some VVIPs – the organisations themselves! Read the stories online here.

We said some goodbyes – and some warm welcomes

There were a few changes to our team this year. Notably (and tearfully), we farewelled our longstanding CEO Paul MacPhail, who was with Regional Arts WA for over 18 years. However we  were delighted to welcome our new CEO Dr Pilar Kasat who has been with us since September.

There were also some changes to the Board membership. Earlier in the year, we said goodbye to our Board Chair Ted Snell and welcomed Oliver Bazzani into the role, with David Wall joining as Treasurer.

Finally, we also said goodbye to our old Members’ Constitution and hello to our sparkly new one!

We travelled – a lot

Image: Regional Arts WA’s  Coordinator Hannah Chambers on a tech run of Chloe Flockart’s Painting with Light project in Merredin. Photo by Alanna Kusin.

We were excited to get back to the regions after two years of restricted travel. This year, staff travelled over 20,000 kms and visited seven WA regions*. Our team travelled to Broome, Kalgoorlie, Carnamah, Newman, Margaret River, and Lake Grace among many other destinations. On these visits, we attended performances, exhibitions, Creative Leadership Programs, and Cabinet Showcases.

Just last month, Regional Arts WA CEO Dr Pilar Kasat flew to the east coast to meet with the Australia Council, Regional Arts Australia and the other state Regional Program Administrators. Pilar also attended the Creative Regions National Summit in Canberra, where Regional Arts Australia launched the Regional Strategic Framework

*Includes the Great Southern and Gascoyne, where some of our team is based.

We shook our coconuts in the Indian Ocean Territories

Image: Grace Barbé Christmas Island Cricket and Sporting Club performance. Photo by Aidan D’Adhemar.

Speaking of travel, we had the absolute pleasure of touring Grace Barbé Afro Kreol to the Christmas and Cocos Keeling Islands in June. Grace and her band played several shows, ran workshops, immersed themselves in the communities, and dodged torrential rains. The lucky workshop participants learned all about Grace Barbé’s native Seychelles – from the culture, to language, food, dance and music. Read more about the tour here.

We embraced new technology

It’s not exactly exciting on the surface, however it is impossible to reflect on the year without talking about the digital leaps we have made. We have put in a lot of work to improve the accessibility of our online channels – using Plain English, including alt text and image descriptions, and adding an accessibility widget on our website. With the risk of security breaches becoming more real (see: Optus), we’ve taken lots of steps to make our systems more secure and functional. This includes moving to Bitwarden for password management (psst! there’s also a free version) and enabling two-factor authentication on all our accounts. We also moved to new accounting software, payroll administration and set up an internal knowledge base. Phew!

After a huge year, we are taking a much-needed break. Regional Arts WA’s offices will be closed from 22 December 2022, reopening Monday 9 January. We look forward to another year of celebrating and supporting regional arts in WA! Until then, we wish you all a safe and restful holiday season.

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