Thanks to the Chamber of Arts and Culture, the President was able to attend a fascinating briefing from Duncan Ord, Director General of the Department of Culture and Arts, on the State Budget. The overall picture for arts and culture, including LotteryWest and other funding, puts the Arts and Culture sector in WA ahead of many other states. Unfortunately, the specifics mean that the various cultural institutions have suffered from either flat line funding, or a loss of income. The New Museum project, includes refurbishment of the heritage buildings and Welshpool storage facility, and DCA have recognised that additional work will need to be spent on other facilities in the Cultural Centre to maintain it as an attractive space and active public area after Yagan Square and Elizabeth Quay are completed.
The Strategic Directions Framework, which is looking to 2030 0r 2031, will go out to the community for consultation, with the intention that it be a document of intent for the arts and cultural sectors. It is important that history and heritage interests are represented in the framework, so please respond to the survey, if you have not done so already. (You might also want to point out the significant anniversary in 2029). Closing dates for the survey and formal responses is by the end of the week.
DCA is looking at a new way of managing and supporting community organisations, and has developed a new Organisations Investment Program. Expressions of Interest have been sought for new bodies to be supported by the Department, and further rounds of applications will be made available. The funding is set at around $19 mill, with a 1.5% increase over previous years. The only difficulty with the program at the moment is that it was originally designed to work in conjunction with Australia Council funding.
The Creative Regions program will support additional performance tours in regional WA, as well as providing infrastructure funding. It is not clear whether touring exhibitions, artist in residence or writers in residence programs will fit with this initiative. However, there will also be funding for creation of new works and additional content, which may provide an avenue for members’ interests. The role of local and regional government in supporting cultural endeavours was also mentioned. Members should keep an eye on the DCA website for opportunities for funding and to provide feedback on these initiatives.