Summit shines light on opportunities

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Creating opportunities for the region’s artistic community and capturing a more equitable share of Government funding are some priorities identified at the Mayoral Arts and Cultural Summit.

A report, compiling the ideas of the more than 100 artists and cultural workers from the Penrith, Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury region who took part in the Summit, has now been released - providing a call to action to address a range of priorities.

"Despite the obvious inequities in the amount of arts and culture funding given to other areas of Sydney compared to Western Sydney, there was a tremendous sense of pride from those at the Summit about what has been achieved and a great sense of optimism about what could happen if more funding came to the west," Penrith Mayor, Councillor Karen McKeown, said.

Earlier this year Council co-funded a Deloitte Access Economics report, "Building Western Sydney's Cultural Arts Economy," which highlighted glaring inequities in State and Federal funding for cultural programs and infrastructure.

"The report found that while close to one third of the population of NSW live in Western Sydney, the region receives just 1% of Commonwealth arts program funding and 5.5% of the State Government's arts and events budget," Cr McKeown said. "Lobbying for equity in arts and cultural development funding at a Federal and State level was obviously a priority for participants at the Summit. It is important that Council lead this campaign.

"Council invests a significant amount of funds to ensure the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, the Penrith Conservatorium of Music and the Penrith Regional Gallery and The Lewers Bequest provide an exciting and rewarding cultural experience for residents and visitors to the area.  However the Federal and State governments need to provide more funding support.  Each attendee at the Sydney Opera House receives a subsidy of $74 in State Government funding whereas each attendee at Penrith's major cultural facilities receives $1.50.

"Summit participants also highlighted the need for more accessible spaces for artists, such as creative hubs and pop-ups across the region to nurture the contribution of arts and cultural expression to our everyday lives. These can have a real, tangible benefit quite quickly and economically.

"We'll be sending the outcomes of the report to all participants and gaining their support to assist Council in its advocacy to other levels of government."

Download the Mayoral Arts and Culture Summit Report.

Watch the video on YouTube

Photo caption: (L-R) Chairman of the Penrith Performing and Visual Arts Board the Hon Peter Anderson AM, CEO of Penrith Performing & Visual Arts Hania Radvan, Penrith Deputy Mayor Ross Fowler OAM and Facilitator of the Mayoral Arts and Culture Summit Dr Paula Abood.

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Tuesday, 8 December 2015.