SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council adopted a revised Arts and Culture Policy at its meeting last week.
The policy commits to supporting a culturally vibrant municipality. It provides clear objectives for Council’s arts and cultural services and programs and a focus for where Council can support improvements to facilities in South Gippsland. It will support a range of artistic activity to be embedded in the community and drive economic activity in the sector across South Gippsland.
During the discussion about the new policy, Cr Mohya Davies remarked that she had recently visited Bendigo, where the art gallery holds major exhibitions, such as ‘Marilyn Monroe,’ which have become instrumental in attracting visitors to Bendigo, boosting the economic activity of the area enormously.
Cr Andrew McEwen said that one of the reasons people come to South Gippsland is to visit the local galleries. Culture, he said, is increasingly becoming a drawcard.
Cr Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks invited the arts community to study the policy and suggest how it could best be implemented and advise how Council could improve the delivery of arts.
To develop the new policy, Council undertook broad consultation with the arts sector and established a working group that received and considered feedback, provided forums and network meetings and directly assisted staff with writing the policy.
Council also consulted widely with the sector and sought input from other Gippsland municipalities through the Creative Gippsland Network.
Now that the Policy is in place, Council will progress development of an Arts and Creative Industries Strategy. The Strategy will consider:
- Supporting the development of an Arts Alliance;
- Supporting the continuation of a Council-facilitated South Gippsland Arts Network;
- Developing a plan for equitable funding between physical recreation activity and arts and cultural development;
- Identifying Council teams to contribute to implementation of the policy;
- Participating in joint projects with neighbouring municipalities;
- Participating in joint projects with the wider recreation and civic communities of South Gippsland;
- Collaborating with the tourism sector to promote cultural tourism opportunities;
- Collaborating with emerging creative industries cluster to promote innovation in the sector;
- Expanding and maintaining public art across South Gippsland;
- Developing an Arts Facilities and Venues Plan to improve access to exhibition spaces;
- Establishing an annual South Gippsland Arts Prize.
Michael Lester, president of Prom Coast Arts Council and member of the South Gippsland Arts Alliance, was in the public gallery to hear Council adopt the policy. He was pleased that councillors gave unanimous support to the new policy, which he said came after months of consultation with members of the arts community and the South Gippsland Arts Alliance (SGAA).
“Arts Alliance members are thrilled that the Council believes the arts to be an integral part of South Gippsland life and worthy of financial and administrative support. We will continue to work with arts organisations and Council to ensure the development of an implementation strategy for the new policy benefits all South Gippsland residents,” Mr Lester said.
The SGAA was recently formed to act as an independent ‘peak body’ for all arts organisations and practitioners in South Gippsland. The Arts Alliance can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Any individuals wishing to view the Arts and Culture Policy or any other Council policy can visit Council’s website.