South Coast arts and culture organisations have been encouraged to capitalise on an $100 million state government fund announced on Saturday.
The funds, to be released over a four-year period, are for the purchase of equipment for projects that revitalise communities and economies, for larger scale projects such as cultural infrastructure in partnership with local councils, and the operational funding for museums and galleries.
South Coast MP Shelley Hancock and Kiama MP Gareth Ward joined with Arts Minister Don Harwin at the Shoalhaven City Arts Centre and Regional Gallery to announce the Regional Cultural Fund, available in next week’s state budget.
Mrs Hancock said the fund was investing $100 million over four years into regional towns to develop opportunities for the growth of local arts and culture.
“This funding has been made available specifically for areas such as the South Coast to help boost the Shoalhaven’s diverse and exciting arts scene,” Mrs Hancock said.
“Whether the Lady Denman Museum in Huskisson or Arthur Boyd’s home of Bundanon, this program is a fantastic opportunity to grow and expand local culture and art.
“Arts funding has typically been directed towards programs and projects in the state’s metropolitan centres, however this fund was created to ensure regional NSW also receives its fair share.
“Investing in arts and cultural programs will encourage tourists to visit the South Coast, support local talent and increase audience awareness and revitalise art infrastructure.
“I invite and strongly encourage arts and culture organisations on the South Coast, including the Shoalhaven City Arts Centre and local Indigenous communities to apply for this incredible opportunity that will result in a thriving arts and culture sector for both locals and visitors.”
Mr Ward said the fund supported the arts and culture in a number of ways.
“The NSW Government is prioritising regional communities, and this funding will ensure our local galleries and art organisations are able to continue to operate and enrich the Shoalhaven,” he said.
“We recognise the social, cultural and economic value of the arts and their recreational and educational importance to the Shoalhaven. I encourage local libraries, arts centres, halls or artists of any medium to apply.”
Mr Harwin said regional NSW has long been home to producers of unique and diverse arts and culture works across a range of disciplines including visual, performing and indigenous arts.
“Regional NSW has a rich history of contributing to the Australian identity expressed through all forms of the arts,” he said.
“Investing in arts and culture facilities and programs on the South Coast will provide recreational and educational benefits as well as increased tourist visitation, which in turn helps art practitioners expand their networks and enter new markets.”
Grant applications open on July 17.
Successful applicants will be advised to submit additional information.