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Regional Arts Development Central West NSW

Arts OutWest celebrates 50 Years in Central West NSW

AOW 50th on the night slide show PART 1

Arts OutWest, the peak arts body and regional arts development organisation for the NSW Central West, has been working across the region for 50 years.

Over half a century we have been committed to promoting, facilitating, educating and advocating for arts and cultural development.

“As the oldest regional arts program in NSW, Arts OutWest has a strong legacy of high quality arts activities coupled with support for arts, heritage and culture across all artforms and all interests,” said Arts OutWest chair Margot Jolly. “The organisation is very highly regarded in the state and national arts sectors, and is a leader in areas like arts and health – something our region can be proud of.”

A special 50th anniversary dinner will be held at Forbes Town Hall on Saturday 1 June. The night features musicians from the region and art exhibitions.

Whilst the dinner is now sold out, you can still attend the opening of three new art exhibitions on Saturday afternoon, 2-3pm at Forbes Town Hall.

The exhibitions showcase recent work by members of the Forbes Arts Society, work by Arts OutWest staff, board and advisory council members, and photography from Arts OutWest’s Media Associates. The exhibitions will be open to the public Sunday 2 June, and then across the long weekend June 8-10, from 10am-2pm at Forbes Town Hall and next door at St Andrews Hall. Work by Wiradjuri artist Ronda Sharp will also show at Forbes Visitor Information Centre for the month of June.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Arts Julia Finn, Member for Orange Phil Donato, Member for Calare Andrew Gee, Ben Franklin MLC, and CEO of Regional Arts NSW Tracey Callinan will be amongst the high profile attendees at the dinner, along with many past staff and board members and lots of artists and arts supporters from the region.

“Arts OutWest has played a pivotal role in nurturing artistic talent, promoting community engagement, and enhancing the cultural vitality on a regional level,” said Mrs Jolly. “We’re excited to celebrate not just 50 years of Arts OutWest but the strong and vital arts activity in our region.”

Arts OutWest is one of 15 regional arts development organisations across the state, receiving funding from state, local and federal government and working with a wide range of partners to deliver support and run strategic arts projects in their region.

Short histories of arts ad cultural development in the NSW Central West

For the 50th Anniversary we compiled some very loose histories, by decade, of the organisation.

A BIG disclaimer:

These are very much a potted history pulled lightly from annual reports, file boxes, a giant tub of photos and more recent staff and board memories (some staff have been here for more than a third of the organisation’s existence). We most certainly have missed LOTS of things and people (lost filing labels and a few office moves might be to blame). 

This film: Arts Out West 50yrs Feature (3mins)

produced by Anthony Frisina
camera and sound – Kevin May, Pat Greer
editor – Pat Greer at Greer Films
production/ research – Arts OutWest
featuring footage from ‘Yamma Dummarung’ by Desert Pea Media for Marramarra (2010), ‘30 Years of Arts OutWest’ (2004), ‘Yaganda Bulabul’ (2023), ‘Virtual Art Snacks: Dancing Memories’ (2023) and file photos. Thanks to Margaret Smith for B&W photos. Images from the Arts OutWest archives.

This film was produced by funding from Create NSW’s Rescue & Restart.

DO YOU HAVE MORE STORIES? We’d love to share your Arts OutWest memories over the coming year (and perhaps put names, places and dates to faces in the photos on this pageso please get in touch.

IMAGE: First community arts officer Margaret Smith (centre) outside the ‘community arts caravan’ in the late 1970s/ Photo courtesy Margaret Smith