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Regional Arts NSW poised to contribute to ‘Culturally Ambitious Nation’

Image: Lines and Shadows projection art workshops run by Greg Pritchard in Narrandera through the Narrandera Arts and Creative Network were funded through a CASP grant.


Regional Arts NSW Chair, Peter White, believes strong regional arts practice and networks are important to ensure Australia is a ‘culturally ambitious nation’.

Mr White was responding to the launch of the Australia Council for the Arts Strategic Plan 2014-2019 earlier this week aimed at positioning Australia in the national and international spheres. The council also launched its new grants model.

The Strategic Plan comprises four goals –

Goal One:   Australian arts are without borders
Goal Two:   Australia is known for its great art and artists
Goal Three: The arts enrich daily life for all
Goal Four:   Australians cherish Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture

– and the new grants model to be implemented from January 2015 will consist of five programs:

Mr White, who is also a member of the Australia Council’s Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Arts Panel, said while the strategy aims to increase national and international engagement with Australian art and artists, goal three ‘that the arts enrich daily life for all’ was often an outcome of the activities of RANSW and its regional arts boards located throughout NSW.

‘The projects funded through the Country Arts Support Program (CASP) and the Regional Arts Fund (RAF) usually evolve from the community base – a need or gap is identified by an individual, group or sometimes the regional arts board, and because the community’s need is at heart of the project, the end result is more far-reaching than just having people attend,’ Mr White said.

He said the fourth goal, ‘Australians cherish Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts and Cultures’ was essential to the success of Australia growing artistically and culturally.

‘Our commitment to the fostering and promotion of Aboriginal Arts results in a greater understanding and engagement by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal audiences. The strategy articulates the importance of moving this engagement beyond tokenism to the point where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and cultures is embedded in Australian arts,’ he said.

‘Through our network of Regional Arts Development and Aboriginal Arts Officers, and the opportunities we are able to offer, we’ll ensure that we’ll play our part in ensuring Australia is a culturally ambitious nation.’

You can  watch the launch here.