Growth opportunity for NSW arts organisations

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Brooke Boland

NSW arts organisations are getting more kids on board with the Creative Kids program.
Growth opportunity for NSW arts organisations

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The NSW Government has rolled out the new Creative Kids program, which recognises the importance of creative activities in a child’s learning and development and is making participation more affordable for families. 

Creative Kids complements the NSW Government’s existing Active Kids program and provides parents, carers, guardians and families with a $100 voucher that can be put towards the cost of registration, participation or tuition fees for creative and cultural activities outside of school, such as music lessons, language classes, coding and digital, visual and performing arts. 

And we’re already seeing some positive outcomes. After speaking to Creative Kids providers, participating organisations say they have experienced a lift in participation among young people.

‘The take up has been really positive from our side. The hope is that young people who weren’t otherwise involved can take this opportunity to trial something and if they love it they can continue to work with us in the future,’ said Amanda Wright, General Manager of Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP).

‘[Creative Kids] is a really great opportunity to reach more young people or to provide that little bit of extra support for families who might already be engaging with you,’ she added.

Regional arts organisations in NSW including Spaghetti Circus in Mullumbimby and Gunedah Music Conservatorium are already registered providers. 

Spaghetti Circus General Manager Alice Cadwell said: ‘We’ve seen a lot of excitement from parents. Being on the North Coast, we’re in a low socioeconomic area. A lot of people move here for lifestyle not necessarily for wages.

Spagehtti Circus, Jumping Point Commonwealth games. Photo: Carnival Cinema Hamish McCormick. Performer Luella.

‘We’re finding the increase in participation is really exciting. It also means that for the families who come all the time but may be struggling to afford classes alongside their exisiting sport activities or other activities like dance, there’s a little more support.’

Growth opportunity for arts organisations

Elizabeth W. Scott, Executive Director of Create NSW, sees this as a valuable opportunity for arts and creative industry organisations in NSW. 

‘We are really hoping the sector will sign up and incentivise increased participation in arts, screen and culture. Create NSW is promoting the initiative as widely as possible, to maximise access for all young people, regardless of where they live and their socio-economic background,’ said Scott.

Organisations like Gunedah Music Conservatorium have already begun reaching families through eligible holiday workshops and plan to introduce more group activities in future that will be covered by the $100 Creative Kids voucher.

‘[Creative Kids] has really made us look at the programs we’re running and how we can run them in a different way so that the voucher covers the cost for participants. In other art spaces as well, one on one tuition is expensive in any situation and we need to look at how we can change our models and mode of delivery so that they can be more affordable,’ explained Gunedah Music Conservatorium Director Rebecca Ryan.

‘We’re now looking into running other group activities, for example, an introduction to drumming over a term. We would potentially be able to run that course for $100 so it is covered by the voucher and that would give the child an extended learning period in a group situation. There’s obviously economies of scale so we can bring that cost right down.’ 

Cadwell agreed that the program offers an important opportunity for growth in the sector, commenting on the teaching work it potentially creates for artists.

‘It means individual artists throughout Australia and especially in NSW will be offered more consistent work to share their creative practice with young people,’ she said. 

How to become a provider

Registration is free for NSW arts organisations. The first step to becoming a Creative Kids provider is to check your eligibility and register your organisation with Service NSW

Service NSW supply all registered Creative Kids providers with an electronic on-boarding pack to support them with the program, and provide tools and resources to promote their approved Creative Kids provider status.

For more information on the program and registration requirements for Creative Kids providers read the Creative Kids Provider Guidelines.

But first a word of advice from Cadwell. ‘Check the criteria and work out which of your programs matches the criteria. For us, we realised not only our term classes were available but our masterclasses and our holiday workshops were eligible. We’re now looking at changing some of our times for future programs to make sure they are available as well. 

‘It is a really great strategic opportunity for arts organisations,’ she concluded. 

To find out more, visit service.nsw.gov.au/creativekids

About the author

Brooke Boland is a freelance writer based on the South Coast of NSW.