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Regional Arts Development Central West NSW

New arts activities funded by the Country Arts Support Program

An exhibition of sculptural pieces from discarded pianos by Bren

Eight arts activities across the NSW Central West will share $17,000 in funding from the NSW Government’s annual Country Arts Support Program (CASP).

Building membership of arts groups, employing local artists, upskilling artists to take their work to the next step, and supporting new art spaces with activity are strong themes in the list of activities funded in 2024 by the Country Arts Support Program.

Regional arts development organisation Arts OutWest, who deliver CASP locally, have announced the Central West recipients of this long-running small grants program.

Applicants could apply for up to $3000, with groups, councils, individuals, collectives and arts businesses eligible. Funds are primarily for the payment of artists and arts workers to undertake locally-developed arts activities.

“The selected projects had to offer exciting arts activities, development of new work, public outcomes, or future sustainability for an arts group,” Arts OutWest Executive Director Kylie Shead said “Value for money was also high on the criteria.”

There were 23 applications for the 2024 round asking for just over $61,000 in funding.

“The demand for the funding was again huge and the quality of applications very strong. It shows a healthy state of the local arts scene – although we always wish we had more of this funding to support all the great proposals that came in,” Ms Shead said. “Given that the region’s CASP allocation hasn’t substantially gone up in 20 years, we continue to advocate to the NSW government for an increase of this funding.”

“We often notice themes come up from year to year and the 2024 round is very strong on activities designed to support sustainable arts participation: from dance teacher training, to engaging new art or writing group members, to supporting fledging new arts spaces,” Ms Shead said. “There are also a number of activities that embrace multi-cultural experiences and inclusivity.”

Funded projects in 2024 will be spread across the region, including in many smaller communities, and include:

  • Grenfell Artists Inc, who have been recruiting new and younger members, will run with a range of half price workshops to help these emerging local artists to help them discover new skills and explore new mediums; helping them to become confident enough to exhibit their work in their newly developed ‘Little Gallery’ in Grenfell.
  • Parkes School of Dance will implement formal training for student dance assistants, through the DanceStep syllabus, to develop future dance teachers.
  • The Artists of Cowra East collective will send three artists to the CORRIDOR Project’s ERTHWRX residency and industry mentorship program for National Science Week in 2024, with collaborative work being developed for exhibition in the new ‘Cowra Micro Gallery’.
  • Five different workshops with professional artists for the Parkes Multicultural Art Group during regular monthly meet ups will broaden the group’s skill base and give them a range of creative experiences.
  • Orange’s culturally diverse music group ALLY will share their skills with the local communities in Orange, Lithgow, Borenore, Canobolas and Molong through performances and workshops.
  • In Mudgee two artist/educators will work with ten artists to present workshops to enhance wellbeing in the community in areas of disability, health, youth, schools and families.
  • Lachlan Arts Council in Condobolin will host a one-day writing workshop with author Kim Kelly. This will involve the Condobolin Writers Group and will be inclusive of those living with a disability.
  • The employment of a vocal coach to support the professional cast recording of the music from Intertwined, a new work of Australian theatre which will be performed at the Cowra Civic Centre in July 2024. The themes of the work are reconciliation, peace and reflection.

“These nine projects offer exciting opportunities to communities, arts makers and audiences in the region. They provide employment opportunities to artists and arts workers,” Ms Shead said.

The funded projects will employ 36 professional arts practitioners, engage nearly 70 other artists, utilise more than 70 volunteers, contributing over 500 volunteer hours and have audiences of potentially thousands. The projects themselves represent $73,813 of regional economic activity.

Most of the projects will make use of additional funding sources or income and more than $23,000 in-kind support from the community and local businesses.

“This funding often seeds the first steps of potentially bigger arts projects or collaborations – the Artists of Cowra East is a great example: the new collective of artists received 2023 CASP funding to test the Cowra Railway Station as an arts space. This led to the establishment of the Cowra Micro Gallery at the station and now in 2024 further development of contemporary art work for this space,” Ms Shead said.

The funded projects begin from February 2024.

The Country Arts Support Program is a devolved funding program coordinated locally by the 15 regional arts development organisations in NSW on behalf of the NSW Government. Applications are assessed locally by a panel.

In 2024 Arts OutWest will also support a number of regional projects with an audience development focus through a small package of one-off additional funds from Create NSW. More announcements on this to follow.

Arts OutWest is the regional arts development organisation for Central West NSW, servicing the 12 local government areas of Bathurst Region, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Lithgow, Mid-Western Region, Oberon, Orange, Parkes and Weddin.

More about Arts OutWest: www.artsoutwest.org.au

Central West NSW Country Arts Support Program (CASP) funded activities 2024

Parkes Shire Council

Activity: Connecting Across Cultures – Parkes Multicultural Art Group

The Parkes Multicultural Art Group meets monthly in the Marramarra Makerspace. We plan to run five workshops – one every two months, during the multicultural art group sessions to broaden the group’s skill base allow the group access to qualified artists and a range of creative experiences.

Location: Parkes

CASP funding: $3000

Lachlan Arts Council

Activity: Writing Down the Lachlan

Lachlan Arts Council will host a writing workshop held by Kim Kelly at Condobolin. This will involve the Condobolin Writers Group and will be inclusive of those living with a disability. The one-day workshop will focus on writing short stories based on the theme “My Life Story”.

Location:  Condobolin

CASP funding: $1500

Orange City Council

Activity: Harmony Day performance Orange; Latin percussion workshops-Molong-Canobolas-Borenore-Lithgow.

This project creates an opportunity for culturally diverse music group ALLY to share their skills with the local communities in Orange, Lithgow, Borenore, Canobolas and Molong through performances and workshops. It encourage engagement and active participation with another culture, passes on skills and promotes social cohesion in March 2024.

Location: Orange, Molong, Canobolas, Borenore, Lithgow

CASP funding: $2660

Mid Western Regional Council

Activity: Engaging regional artists and Community

The project aims to upskill artists to deliver workshops to community groups to provide access to the benefits of arts experiences. Two artist/educators will work with ten artists to present workshops to enhance wellbeing in the community in areas of disability, health, youth, schools and families.

Location: Mudgee

CASP funding: $3000

Artists of Cowra East

Activity: Erthwrx

“ACE” Artists of Cowra East are proposing to select three artists to attend the CORRIDOR Project’s ERTHWRX program as participants for National Science Week in 2024, with collaborative work being developed for exhibition in the Cowra Micro Gallery. Artists will participate in a residency program and receive industry mentorship.

Location: Cowra

CASP funding: $2265

Grenfell Artists Inc

Activity: Encouraging Confidence, Resilience and Affordable Participation of our Emerging Local Artists.

We aim to make our emerging local artists more resilent and confident in their practice and help them discover new skills, explore new mediums by providing them with a range of half price workshops; helping them to become confident enough to exhibit their work in our newly developed “Little Gallery”.

Location: Grenfell

CASP funding: $2575

Lusi Austin

Activity: Intertwined – Cast recording

Intertwined is a new work of Australian theatre which will be performed at the Cowra Civic Centre – July 2024. The employment of a vocal coach will support the professional cast recording of the music from Intertwined. The themes of the work are reconciliation, peace and reflection.

Location: Cowra

CASP funding: $1000

Parkes Dance school

Activity: Dance Step

In 2024, Parkes School of Dance Inc would introduce and implement formal training for our student dance assistants, through the DanceStep syllabus. Dancers aged 10 years and above can participate in the theory and practical learning components. The syllabus is implemented in class and with focus workshops.

Location: Parkes

CASP funding: $1000

IMAGE: The Micro Gallery of Artists of Cowra East in use in 2023. Photo: Zenio Lapka.