Ten new arts projects funded by the Country Arts Support Program

Hands-on workshops to live music performances, indigenous stories told with drone lighting to playful interpretations of museum collections. Ten arts projects across the NSW Central West will share $17,000 in funding from the NSW Government’s annual Country Arts Support Program (CASP).

Carillonists at Bathurst War Memorial Carillion. Photo: Alan Sadlier

After a record number of local applications, regional arts development organisation Arts OutWest, who deliver CASP locally, have announced the Central West recipients of this long-running small grants program. 

Applicants could apply for up to $3000, with groups, councils, individuals, collectives and arts businesses eligible. Funds are primarily for the payment of artists and arts workers to undertake locally-developed arts activities.

There were 27 applications for the 2023 round asking for just over $73,000 in funding, a 40% increase from the previous round.

“The demand for the funding was huge this time and the quality of applications very strong. It shows a healthy state of the local arts scene – although the funding we could offer is woefully inadequate for all the great proposals that came in,” Arts OutWest Executive Director Kylie Shead said. “Given that the region’s CASP allocation hasn’t had any substantial increase in 20 years, we continue to advocate to the NSW government for an increase of this funding.”

“The selected projects offer exciting arts activities, development of new work, public outcomes, or future sustainability for an arts group,” Ms Shead said. “Value for money was also high on the criteria.”

Kandos Museum. Photo: Arts OutWest

Funded projects in 2023 will be spread across the region and include: 

  • A workshop in Portland in partnership with Rural Adversity Mental Health where participants are guided to mold clay into a vessel and learn raku firing.
  • A collaboration between Orange Regional Museum and Orange Regional Conservatorium sharing compositions of the ‘Dunera’ boys.
  • Artists in Cowra presenting new work by local artists and an album launch at the Cowra Railway Station.
  • A drone show incorporating indigenous symbols accompanied by a dreamtime stories and narratives as part of Grenfell’s Light Up the Night in February.
  • Audio descriptions of artifacts in Kandos Museum translated by local makers into new creations.
  • Expanding the training program of the carillonists at Bathurst War Memorial Carillion. 
  • A day of bush poetry, prose, stories and music at the Banjo Paterson, more than a Poet Museum in Yeoval.
  • A site-specific residency and performance at The Foundations in Portland engaging regional Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists for one month to collaboratively explore the question “Does a building have a voice?”
  • Workshops for china painters in Condobolin to pass on their skills and knowledge to a new generation.
  • Supporting performers at Millthorpe’s revitalised acoustic sunday sessions.

“These ten projects offer exciting opportunities to communities, arts makers and audiences in the region. They provide employment opportunities to artists and arts workers. We also know from the history of this funding that it often seeds the first steps of potentially bigger arts projects or collaborations,” Ms Shead said.

Orange Regional Museum’s ‘Dunera Boys’ exhibition.  Photo: ORM

The funded projects will employ 74 professional arts practitioners, utilise more than 55 volunteers, contributing over 700 volunteer hours. The projects themselves represent $195,000 of regional economic activity

Most of the projects will make use of additional funding sources or income and more than $37,000 in-kind support from the community and local businesses.

The funded projects begin from February 2023. The 2024 round of CASP will open late 2023.

The Country Arts Support Program is a devolved funding program coordinated locally by the 14 regional arts development organisations in NSW on behalf of the NSW Government. Applications are assessed locally by a panel.

Arts OutWest is the regional arts development organisation for Central West NSW, servicing the 12 local government areas of Bathurst Region, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Lithgow, Mid-Western Region, Oberon, Orange, Parkes and Weddin. 

More about Arts OutWest: www.artsoutwest.org.au

Pictured Top: Acoustic Sunday Reboot at Millthorpe November 2022. Photo: Zenio Lapka.

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