Wollongong City Council's arts funding no-one knows about

Performers walking along Wollongong's Crown Street Mall in November 2016. Picture: Adam McLean
Performers walking along Wollongong's Crown Street Mall in November 2016. Picture: Adam McLean

Wollongong councillors fear local artists, musicians and theatre groups are unaware thousands of dollars are available to help fund their creative ventures.

Following a low amount of applications, the deadline has been extended until June 8 to take submissions for Wollongong City Council’s Ward Based Art Grants program.

The grants are now in their third year and while the first two years yielded a large amount of applications, Councillor Leigh Colacino said they needed to boost applications this year to ensure the grants would continue.

“There’s all this opportunity but unless the art community is aware of it they miss out,” he said. “In Wollongong, we have one of the highest concentrations of people who work in the arts in Australia. That’s people in music, people in literature, the visual arts … and that’s the thing I’m concerned about is they don’t know Wollongong is delivering this for the community.”

The three Wollongong wards will share in a total of $75,000 in funding, with each project able to apply for up to $22,500.

In Wollongong, we have one of the highest concentrations of people who work in the arts in Australia.

“These are grants from our council because we want to promote our aesthetic side as we do our business acumen,” Cr Colacino said. “What is means for the artist is it really gives them that opportunity to feel focused and confident in that what the profession is they have chosen is a valid one.”

Community and cultural development manager Sue Savage said the aim was to encourage local creative groups develop and stage events or artworks that involve community participation.

“In previous years the program has helped fund a dance project which saw hundreds of people take part in a flash mob dance at Austinmer beach,” she said. “The program has also funded art murals, documentaries and story gathering.”

Lord mayor Gordon Bradbery encouraged “new and diverse” applications across a number of genres.

“The arts are really, from my perspective, the cream on the cake of what a community is about,” Cr Bradbery said. “It’s not just about being professional artists – everyone’s got a creative angle and this might be one way it can be nurtured and resourced.”

Applications close June 8. Details can be found on the Wollongong council website, or by phoning 4227 7111.

This story The Wollongong arts funding no-one knows about and how you can get it first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.