Thursday, February 22, 2024

Inner West arts in the spotlight following summit

Sydney’s Inner West Council says it will take immediate action on feedback from a recent Arts and Music Summit, by turning all eight Inner West Council Town Halls into arts and culture venues and exploring more Special Entertainment Precinct locations in the Inner West.

The summit, which was hosted by the Inner West Council in partnership with the Sydney Fringe Festival, was designed to help performers, artists and arts-based businesses find a way forward after two years of COVID-19 pandemic disruptions.

“We have heard loud and clear from artists, musicians, and creative venues that they need support right now. This suite of measures includes tangible actions that Council can take straight away to support our local creative community and reinvigorate live music and arts in the Inner West,” said Councillor Chloe Smith.

“Early next year, we will begin opening up all eight town halls across the Inner West for use as live music, rehearsal, studio and creative venues, as we have done at Marrickville Town Hall.

“This will help to address the critical shortage of creative space in the inner city and breathe new life into these proud civic venues.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with our local creative community as we chart a blueprint for the sector’s recovery,” she said.

The forum was attended by a broad and representative cross section of the Inner West arts and music sectors including artists, peak organisations, creative businesses, live performance venue operators and academics as well as several State and Federal parliamentarians.

Council said while the Arts and Music Recovery Plan is in development, immediate action can be taken to help the local creative community. This includes:

  • Ensuring maximum use of local artists and venues for Council events including the Marrickville Festival, Inner West Film Festival, World Pride activations, and the Perfect Match program
  • Conducting a creative spaces audit to identify appropriate spaces across the Inner West for creative and rehearsal use. Council’s eight town halls have already been approved for this initiative
  • Investigating opportunities to support local artists and music venues by identifying potential locations for more Special Entertainment Precincts in the Inner West
  • Establishing a ‘concierge matching’ service that matches artists with spaces
  • Reaffirming Council’s Outdoor Activation program and Public Art program and enhancing Council’s commitment to Perfect Match by increasing funding 20%.

Inner West Mayor, Darcy Byrne has written to Arts Minister Ben Franklin and Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke regarding the outcomes of the Inner West Arts Summit.

Mayor Byrne said he was confident that both Ministers will embrace the findings of the summit.

“The Inner West will be the beating heart of this change,” he said.

“With the feedback from the Summit report, and collaboration from key stakeholders including the Arts and Culture Advisory Group, we’ll be able to develop a robust Arts and Music Recovery Plan that will help put the Inner West’s creative community back on track.”

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