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Regional Arts Development Central West NSW

Ten new arts projects funded by the Country Arts Support Program

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Hands-on workshops, live music performances, indigenous stories told with drone lighting, playful interpretations of museum collections. Ten arts projects across the NSW Central West will share $17,000 in funding from the NSW Government’s annual Country Arts Support Program (CASP).

After a record number of local applications, 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.

There were 27 applications for the 2023 round asking for just over $73,000 in funding, a 40% increase from the previous round.

“The demand for the funding was huge this time and the quality of applications very strong. It shows a healthy state of the local arts scene – although the funding we could offer is woefully inadequate for all the great proposals that came in,” Arts OutWest Executive Director Kylie Shead said. “Given that the region’s CASP allocation hasn’t had any substantial increase in 20 years, we continue to advocate to the NSW government for an increase of this funding.”

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

Funded projects in 2023 will be spread across the region and include:

  • A workshop in Portland in partnership with Rural Adversity Mental Health where participants are guided to mold clay into a vessel and learn raku firing.
  • A collaboration between Orange Regional Museum and Orange Regional Conservatorium sharing compositions of the ‘Dunera’ boys.
  • Artists in Cowra presenting new work by local artists and an album launch at the Cowra Railway Station.
  • A drone show incorporating indigenous symbols accompanied by a dreamtime stories and narratives as part of Grenfell’s Light Up the Night in February.
  • Audio descriptions of artifacts in Kandos Museum translated by local makers into new creations.
  • Expanding the training program of the carillonists at Bathurst War Memorial Carillion.
  • A day of bush poetry, prose, stories and music at the Banjo Paterson, more than a Poet Museum in Yeoval.
  • A site-specific residency and performance at The Foundations in Portland engaging regional Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists for one month to collaboratively explore the question “Does a building have a voice?”
  • Workshops for china painters in Condobolin to pass on their skills and knowledge to a new generation.
  • Supporting performers at Millthorpe’s revitalised acoustic sunday sessions.

“These ten projects offer exciting opportunities to communities, arts makers and audiences in the region. They provide employment opportunities to artists and arts workers. We also know from the history of this funding that it often seeds the first steps of potentially bigger arts projects or collaborations,” Ms Shead said.

The funded projects will employ 74 professional arts practitioners, utilise more than 55 volunteers, contributing over 700 volunteer hours. The projects themselves represent $195,000 of regional economic activity.

Most of the projects will make use of additional funding sources or income and more than $37,000 in-kind support from the community and local businesses.

The funded projects begin from February 2023. The 2024 round of CASP will open late 2023.

The Country Arts Support Program is a devolved funding program coordinated locally by the 14 regional arts development organisations in NSW on behalf of the NSW Government. Applications are assessed locally by a panel.

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.

2023 CASP funded projects in the NSW Central West

(Alphabetical order by LGA)

Friends of Bathurst War Memorial Carillon

Project:  Carillon Open Day 2023

About: With the graduation of Bathurst’s first three Carillonists, the Friends of the Bathurst War Memorial seek to expand the training program to enable more local musicians the opportunity to train to be able to play this unique instrument. This diversity is key to the sustainability of the performance program.

Location: Bathurst (Bathurst Region)

CASP Funding: $800

Mrs Genevieve Wilby

Project:  acoustic sunday 2023

About: acoustic sunday is a series of 6 curated concerts once per month from May to October featuring original singer/songwriters and musicians. They are held in the hall of the Millthorpe Bowling Club (Club Millthorpe). A majority of performers are located in Central West NSW. The funding will help to to guarantee our performers a minimum fee and also keep the ticket prices low for the audience.

Location: Millthorpe (Blayney Shire)

CASP Funding: $700

Mulga Bill Festival Inc

Project:  A Brunch and Lunch Concert with Banjo Paterson

About: To celebrate the anniversary of the birthday of “Banjo” Paterson – a day of Bush Poetry, Prose, Stories and Music is being held at the Banjo Paterson…. more than a Poet Museum all day Sunday 19 February 2023. Patrons encouraged to come and go with a free gate.

Location: Yeoval (Cabonne Shire)

CASP Funding: $1000


Artists of Cowra East

Project: Art Party at the Cowra Railway Station

About: Artists of Cowra East (ACE) will present new work by local artists at the Cowra Railway Station. In May, it will be a launch of the Wildflowers’ new album ‘Another Day In A Country Town’, and in October, it will be an exhibition of Brenda Stace’s latest paintings.

Location: Cowra (Cowra)

CASP Funding: $2000

Lachlan Arts Council

Project: China Painting Succession

About: We aim to provide a workshop that will give new comers, both young and adults, lessons in the old art of china painting which has been a strong part of the artistic life in Condobolin for over 40 years. Condobolin has in the past had a very strong group, however over the past several years the numbers have dwindled due to elders retiring, moving away and passing on. There is a small core group who would like to pass on their skills and knowledge. The group would like to have a workshop where interested people would be able to learn about the craft and be part of this artists group.

Location: Condobolin (Lachlan Shire)

CASP Funding: $500

The Portland Workshops

Project: ‘Holding On’ – creating a vessel for emotions

About: In association with Rural Adversity Mental Health, Fasher Studio will hold a workshop in Portland where participants are guided to mold clay into a vessel, symbolically containing their strongest emotions. The second workshop involves participants experiencing the dramatic magic of raku firing, with results publicly exhibited in the Annex.

Location: Portland (Lithgow)

CASP Funding: $3000

Ms Gabrielle Bates

Project: Building Song

About: Building Song is a site-specific residency and performance at The Foundations in Portland, Central West NSW. Initiated by Gabrielle Bates, it engages regional Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists for one month to collaboratively explore the question “Does a building have a voice?” through their different cultural identities, skills and knowledges.

Location: Lithgow (Lithgow)

CASP Funding: $2000

Kandos Museum Incorporated

Project:  Playback-Kandos Museum

About: This workshop series invites the community to listen to an audio description of an item from the Kandos Museum. Participants then translate the item into physical form. Each contribution is made signature by the maker’s hand, expressing their relationship to material, place and local history. Creations exhibited at Cementa 24. This project is facilitated by Josie Cavallaro, an arts worker with experience in delivering community arts programs. She also worked as an audio describer for exhibitions and festivals.

Location: Kandos (Mid-Western Region)

CASP Funding: $2000

Orange Regional Museum

Project: Sharing music of the ‘Dunera’ boys, Orange

About: Orange Regional Museum (ORM) will collaborate with Orange Regional Conservatorium (ORC) to deliver a meaningful public program of music performance. ORC students and staff will practice and perform original music composed during internment by the ‘Dunera’ boys, culminating in two public performances at ORM in our exhibition ‘Enemy Aliens’. Working with original manuscripts of music composed by Max-Peter Meyer during the Second World War on board the HMT ‘Dunera’ and during internment in camps in Australia.

Location: Orange (Orange)

CASP Funding: $ 2500

Weddin Shire Council

Project: Light Up the Night 2023 – Indigenous Narratives

About: A free twilight event on Saturday 18 February 2023 in Grenfell. Consisting of stalls, live music and culminate with a drone light show with 100 drones. The drone show runs for 18 minutes, featuring 7 symbols accompanied by music and 3 indigenous symbols accompanied by a dreamtime stories / narratives.

Location: Grenfell

CASP Funding: $2500

IMAGE: Milnthorpe’s acoustic sunday reboot, November 2022, supported by Arts OutWest’s Live & Kicking. Photo: Zenio Lapka