RAF News: Regional Arts Fund | Community Grants Round 2
Almost 60 projects have received more than $1,000,000 of funding through the latest Australian Government Regional Arts Fund Community Grants round.
Funded projects will take place from 1 January 2019 across regional, remote and rural New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.
The volume of applications submitted across the country continues to be substantial, with many high-quality applications received and a competitive assessment process.
This round saw new program administrators in Queensland (Flying Arts Alliance) and the Northern Territory (Darwin Community Arts) overseeing the applications throughout their state for the first time. Both organisations have received high numbers of applications and have joined the national network with enthusiasm, and fresh approaches to delivering the funding in their jurisdictions.
For the past five years, visual arts has been the most-supported art form through the Regional Arts Fund. This round, we see a shift to ‘cross art form’ as the most popular, with 39% (23 of 59) projects listing ‘cross art form’ as the main art form. We believe this trend is in line with art production and consumption trends which see artists and communities increasingly using a number of complimentary art forms in their projects.
Despite the large number of ‘cross art form’ projects, there is still a healthy spread across all other art forms, including an increase in theatre – with five theatre projects funded in this round.
Regional Arts Australia Chair Simon Spain noted, “The increase in the variety of projects applying to the Regional Arts Fund encourages us to feel that artists in regional, remote and rural areas are understanding the benefits of all forms of art for themselves, and their community. We are pleased to be supporting such a number of impressive projects and proud of the positive effects of the Regional Arts Fund nationally.”
The four beneficiary groups that have received the bulk of Regional Arts Fund support remain consistent: General Community, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Artists and Arts workers, and Youth. This round, these four groups are the beneficiaries of 62.7% (37 of 59) projects.
There is a significant increase in projects funded that benefit ‘Culturally and Linguistically Diverse’ people, with five projects across NSW, South Australia and Tasmania. In previous rounds there have been one or two. Over 30% of funding has been directed to First Nations artists and organisations for new collaborations and contemporary arts practice.
In this round South Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales have the most diverse beneficiary groups, with more projects for the underrepresented groups such as ‘people with a disability’ and ‘older people’.
Some projects that highlight these trends include:
AustraNesia Pty Ltd, Mount Sheridan, Qld
Woven is a musical production that seeks to capture the essence of what is most powerful and enduring about the nature of woman. It will be presented by Cairns-based musical and cultural ensemble ‘Women of AustraNesia’ (Aboriginal, Torres Strait Island, Melanesian and Polynesian heritage) and combine cultural elements throughout the stories expressed through narrative and song. The performance itself will weave a significant piece of traditional woven Art revealed in stages, and ultimately becoming a physical representation of the empowerment of women.
SHERLOCK COMMUNITY CENTRE, SHERLOCK, SA
Sherlock sculptural musical playground
Investigative play for all ages, with a focus on men’s mental health, is the aim of this inspired project set in the Mallee settlement of Sherlock. Maker and designer Mark Thomson and local engineer and sculptor Rob Hughes will engage local men to create a musical sculptural playground using repurposed farm equipment.
University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tas
Okto-Lab: a gallery of octopus aesthetics
Okto-lab is an exhibition project focusing on the octopus. Conceived as a laboratory for studying and re-evaluating animals, the exhibition allows visitors to explore octopuses from different perspectives and positions that blend the boundaries between scientific, artistic and cultural approaches. Visitors will be prompted to question their understanding of the nonhuman world. The octopus acts as both primary subject-matter and model for interdisciplinary research, responding to the alien complexity and physiology of the animal in various ways.
Southern Edge Arts, Centennial Park, WA
RISK Youth Circus
Southern Edge Arts will work with local Aboriginal artists and cultural advisors to offer circus training to at-risk youth and establish the Great Southern region’s first Aboriginal circus troupe. RISK Youth Circus aims to support Aboriginal youth who are at risk of disengaging from school and provide an artistic pathway with weekly classes throughout the year.
For a full list of funded projects, see here.
Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia will open for the next Regional Arts Fund Community Grants round from mid-January 2019, for projects commencing from 1 July 2019.