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The 1990s
Arts and cultural development in the 1990s

In 2024 Arts OutWest celebrates 50 years of arts and cultural development in the NSW Central West. We’re the oldest of what is now a robust and vital network of 15 regional arts development organisations across the state. We have only been called Arts OutWest since the mid 1980s.

Here we continue our look back at the history of the organisation and projects in the region.

This history was published is a short document for our 50th Anniversary Dinner June 2024.

A BIG disclaimer:

This is 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). 

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.

More at 


Funding: Eg: 1996 funding was 50/50 NSW Government and local governments (at 25c per capita for LGAs).

Councils included (with some variation): Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Dubbo, Evans, Forbes, Geater Lithgow, Lachlan, Mudgee, Oberon, Orange, Parkes, Weddin, Wellington.

Writer Thomas Kenneally was guest speaker at the 1995 AGM.

1990: first printed‘ Art map in collaboration with local tourism officers.

1991: Australia Council commissioned Arts OutWest and Prime TV to produce a video on arts in TV news for national distribution.

1996: First internet site set up.

Regional Community Development Officer/ Regional Arts Development Officer/ Executive Director:

Janie Raffin (1988-1991), Bruce Dicksen (1991-1995), Lis Bastian (1995-1997, previously promotions officer from 1991), Meg Simpson (1997-1999), Meredith Watt (MacPherson) (1999-2000). The Job ‘Community arts officer’ became ‘regional arts development officer’ in 1991.

Chairs: Warwick Tom, Bill Marshall, John Collins, Ros Kemp. Peter Andren,

Staff in the 1990s (included): Astrid Turner, Lis Bastian (Promotions officer) Danita Phelan, Penny Packham (Information and Admin; museums officer), James Lawrence, Bronwyn Giovenco (finance – 1999- 2010s various periods), Justin Byrne, Kath Melborune, Geoff Clinton, Linden Teriney (projects), Ian Dalkin (admin and promotions), Michelle Christie (admin), interns and volunteers.

Focus: A museums program, establishment of Central West Writers Centre 1996-7, Artstart youth arts and skills; promotions including radio and PrimeTV spot.

Projects focused on localised activities, often separately funded, and regional seminars. Included: regional seminars; festival and theatrical celebration in partnership with CSU (1991), festival and theatrical celebration in partnership with CSU (1991), biennial Youth Arts Festival (later TAFE youth Artstart) (1992-2014), The Day The Emu Flew (1992), Wellington Gateway (1993-95), Dubbo Festival of Red Earth (1998), Indigenous Cultural Development program (1999),

Contemporary Indigenous Music project (1999), Promoting the value of the Arts in Regional NSW (2001), Stand Our Ground CD, Cultural Directory database, Music Development Parkes/Forbes, Regional Museums Officer and Central West Museums website (1996-1997), Beyond the Basin exhibition in Sydney (1996), Accessible Arts workshops, and many more.


Arts OutWest is noted for its driving enthusiasm and dedication, qualities which reinforce the power of the arts to forge community bonds and achieve common goals.” – NSW Minster for the Arts Hon Peter Collins, at 1989 AGM

Images from the Arts OutWest archives. Do you recognize someone or something that needs a label? Email us