Taking a stand with Sydney’s cultural organisations

In an effort to stand tall with Sydney’s arts and cultural sector, the City of Sydney is finding new ways to further support its cultural organisations following unexpected funding cutbacks in recent state and federal budgets.

Council has agreed to sponsor a national research study into the visual arts sector and offer an increase in rental subsidy to the PACT centre for emerging artists.

City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone said both the research project and rental subsidy increase were an important way for the City to support the small to medium arts sector whose budgets have been significantly impacted by funding changes.

“Recent cuts in state and federal funding have placed many of our arts and cultural organisations under huge financial stress that affects their programs and the communities that benefit from them,” Ms Barone said.

“From providing career opportunities for emerging and mid-career artists and diversifying the city’s night-time economy, to expanding our creative industries, all of these organisations make a significant contribution to Sydney’s cultural life.

“Apart from providing valuable information to the City, this research will help demonstrate the cultural and economic value of this sector to other levels of government.

“PACT has been inspiring our emerging artists and engaging our local communities since 1964 – so it’s fitting we honour the centre with a much-needed increase in rental subsidy to further support the vitality and wellbeing of Sydney’s creative community.”

The City’s sponsorship of a national research study for the National Association for the Visual Arts will investigate the significance of the arts sector in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Funded through the City’s knowledge exchange sponsorship program, the study will produce new data on the creative industry in Sydney, which is home to the largest proportion of small-to-medium visual arts organisations in Australia.

Clear data on the current size of the market, its wellbeing and returns on investment will help the City identify the best avenues for future support. It will also help the City and cultural sector groups advocate for more secure and sustainable funding models from other government agencies.

PACT has been a City-accommodation grant tenant at 107 Railway Parade, Erskineville since 1987. The centre this year received a 40 per cent cut in federal funding after decades of support.

They will benefit from a 100 per cent subsidy, providing them with a free, secure venue while they develop new income streams.

PACT Artistic Director Katrina Douglas said the centre is thrilled to continue their partnership with the City of Sydney to maintain its vibrant, live performance venue.

“PACT’s iconic warehouse theatre is an incubator for experimental performance from early career artists and emerging companies, and it’s an affordable space for hire for independent theatre-makers,” Ms Douglas said.

“The City’s vote of confidence comes at a difficult time for PACT and the arts in general. The increased support from the City is another example of the council’s leadership and foresight in championing the arts.

“On behalf of PACT’s board and artists I want to thank the City and all the councillors for their ongoing and valuable support of PACT centre for emerging artists.”

The centre is one of the oldest running performing arts companies in Australia, having devoted the past 60 years to developing local emerging artists with residencies, scholarships and a space to develop their creative practices.

The City’s accommodation grants provide City-owned spaces to community groups at no charge or reduced rates.

The program currently supports 67 organisations across 44 City-owned sites, including 107 Projects, 4A Gallery, Object Gallery, Firstdraft and the PACT centre for emerging artists.

Furthermore, 169 organisations occupied 56 properties across the Creative Spaces Programs on average over the year 2015–16, including Oxford Street Creative Spaces program, William Street Creative Spaces, Live/Work Spaces, Short Term Empty Properties program and the Accommodation Grants program.

Organisations affected by recent arts funding cuts can learn more about opportunities for City support at:cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/community/grants-and-sponsorships/cultural-grants-sponsorships/cultural-and-creative-grants