Arts NSW: A Champion for Regional Arts

Regional arts and culture to thrive under NSW Government policy direction.
Arts NSW: A Champion for Regional Arts

Four Winds Nature's Concert Hall, Barragga Bay, Bermagui, photography by Warren Purnell.

In February 2015, the NSW Government launched the State’s first ever arts and cultural policy framework, Create in NSW.

A 10 year vision built on three mutually reinforcing ambitions of excellence, access and strength, Create in NSW identifies the NSW Government’s priorities for arts and culture – and regional NSW is high on its agenda.


As the NSW Government’s arts and cultural agency, Arts NSW is leading a whole-of-government delivery of the vision described in Create in NSW.

Executive Director of Arts NSW Mary Darwell said that arts and culture presented many opportunities for regional NSW, which is home to one third of the State’s population.

'The unique centres, coastal hamlets, agricultural communities and remote townships of regional NSW represent the State’s diverse communities, cultures and landscapes,' said Ms Darwell. 'Arts and culture are ideal opportunities for bringing communities together, for showcasing regional NSW globally, and for driving the visitor economy, attracting investment, and supporting business growth'.

The Framework identifies a number of priority actions in the coming decade, and the focus for regional NSW is on funding artistic development, facilitating partnerships and collaborations, and improving access and networks. Much of this work will build upon or strengthen the work already being undertaken by Arts NSW.

'The geography of regional NSW means we have to work hard to develop peer relationships and support,' Darwell said.'Arts NSW has a series of programs and policies focused on fostering regional partnerships and networks'.

Arts NSW’s Regional Partnerships program empowers local organisations to partner with other organisations in their region or with urban-based organisations to develop and deepen networks, to see artistic hubs and clusters developed across the state.

Arts NSW has also recently introduced long-term funding to touring companies, while support for Indigenous arts and culture continues through its Aboriginal Regional Arts Fund.

'Create in NSW highlights how important it is for urban and metro organisations to collaborate with regional and local arts and cultural organisations,' said Darwell.

'Arts NSW works closely with our colleagues at the State’s Cultural Institutions and at Screen NSW to ensure that their work extends throughout NSW.

'Our work with regional NSW is also about recognising and supporting excellence; last year, we launched the NSW Regional Arts Fellowship and for the next four years, we will give 25 NSW Young Regional Artist Scholarships of $10,000, each year.

'By offering these opportunities for professional development, we foster excellence in regional arts. We are continuing to work on professional development opportunities.'

Ultimately, Arts NSW is driven by the importance of a vibrant arts sector across the state. 'Arts and culture are critical for the identity and visibility of our NSW regions,' Darwell explained. 'They give local voices and issues a greater platform. Guided by the vision for the sector described in Create in NSW, all of our funding, policies and programs are strategically driven to support and develop an arts and cultural sector in NSW that is strong, excellent and accessible'.

For more information visit Arts NSW

Chloe Wolifson

Thursday 28 May, 2015

About the author

Chloe Wolifson is a Sydney-based independent art writer and curator who works across artist-run, commercial and public domains.