Arts in Western Sydney
Supporting arts and culture in Western Sydney is a priority under the NSW Arts and Cultural Policy Framework: Create in NSW and the Arts and Cultural Development Program (ACDP).
About the region
Western Sydney is one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia. It has 47% of Greater Sydney’s residents, and over the next 20 years, its population is expected to increase by 50% to over three million. Western Sydney is also one of the State’s most multicultural regions, with a population representing over half the world’s nations. It is also home to NSW’s largest population of Aboriginal people. Western Sydney has an innovative arts and cultural sector, which is attracting new audiences and providing significant growth opportunities. State and local governments have invested significantly in the region to strengthen and expand the network of arts centres and cultural facilities.
NSW Government support for the arts in Western Sydney
The NSW Goverment has committed an additional $7.5 million over the next 4 years to grow the artistic excellence of the region and invest in local Western Sydney talent and jobs. In 2015/16 Arts NSW has invested $3.4 million to support the arts and cultural programs of 19 organisations in Western Sydney. For more information about the NSW Government’s investment in Western Sydney please click here.
For more information about the Western Sydney programs and projects that received funding in 2015/2016 please click here.
Arts facilities and infrastructure
Western Sydney is home to important arts facilities, including Bankstown Arts Centre, Blacktown Arts Centre, Casula Powerhouse, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Penrith Performing & Visual Arts Ltd and the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta.
These centres present vibrant programs that draw upon the best of the region’s arts and culture to tell the stories of their communities. Western Sydney is also home to two Living Museums, Elizabeth Farm and Rouse Hill House and Farm.
Planning arts and cultural infrastructure for Western Sydney will be aligned to, and integrated within, broader strategic planning for liveable communities, employment opportunity and urban development.
For more information about the New Museum for MAAS at Parramatta, please click here
State Cultural Institutions
Arts NSW is working with the State Cultural Institutions as they deepen their presence in Western Sydney through genuine and recipricol partnerships.
National Theatre of Parramatta
Arts NSW has provided $800,000 for the development of a resident company for the Riverside Theatre in partnership with Parramatta City Council, which will play a key role in developing performances for local communities. For more information about the National Theatre of Parramatta (NToP), please click here.
Key actions under Create in NSW
Western Sydney’s opportunities — its size and diversity, the characteristics of its economy and the increasing pressure on relatively new infrastructure — are also its challenges. As one of the fastest-growing sectors of the State’s economy, the creative industries can play a part in developing the region. Supporting culturally relevant, accessible arts programs is the key to success in Western Sydney. Acknowledging Western Sydney’s unique qualities and great creative promise, this Policy includes specific actions to support growth across its subregions, harnessing potential and maximising opportunity.
1) Mapping the Arts and Cultural Landscape of Western Sydney
A key action under the Policy is the mapping of the arts and cultural landscape of Western Sydney for which SGS Economics and Planning have been engaged by Arts NSW to map the region’s soft and hard infrastructure. The findings of the mapping project will inform strategies, investment and infrastructure development decisions for the development of the arts and cultural sector in the region. The research methodology employed by SGS included:
- Desktop research – SGS completed a review of existing research, literature, policies from local, state and federal government and arts and cultural organisations annual reports. The desktop research reports sector specific and broad demographic trends for the region including: transport, cultural diversity, residential growth, employment and education.
- Consultation – SGS conducted 22 face-to-face and 22 phone interviews with artists, arts and cultural workers and venue managers across artforms.
- Survey – three separate surveys were issued seeking information on arts and cultural programming, venue use and participation.
2) Western Sydney arts and cultural roundtable
The Western Sydney Roundtable is one of the key actions listed in Create in NSW and will assist Arts NSW to identify and implement the priorities for Western Sydney. The Roundtable comprises 11 arts and cultural leaders representing various art forms, organisations and cultural practices from across the region. It is chaired by Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, the Premier’s Cultural Ambassador for Western Sydney.
3) The Western Sydney Arts Fellowship
In 2015 the NSW Government under the Arts and Cultural Development Program (ACDP) offered the inaugural Western Sydney Arts Fellowship. The $50,000 Fellowship is to enable a professional Western Sydney artist or arts worker to undertake a self-directed professional development program or project in their chosen field.
For information about the 2016 Western Sydney Arts Fellowship please click here.
Western Sydney feature articles:
- Opportunities for musicians in Western Sydney
- Growing Western Sydney’s arts and culture
- How life in Western Sydney inspires award winning artist Khaled Sabsabi
- Rex Cramphorn Theatre Fellow
- Life seen through a video lens: Western Sydney video artist wins visual arts fellowship
- Spotlight on Western Sydney artist Karen Therese