46 projects across Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia will share $669,000 of funding through the latest Regional Arts Fund Community Grants round. The scale and range of projects is broad and diverse, and this round sees visual arts as one of the most supported artforms. Within this field there is a diversity of engagement and outcomes, which serves to highlight the breadth of needs supported by the fund.
Some of the place-based visual arts projects include plans for an Indigenous meeting place and healing garden at the Mackay Regional Hospital, public art commissions for the reopening of Rockhampton Museum of Art, mosaic design skills workshops in Coonalpyn which will result in public street furniture, a curated collection of video artwork at the Riddoch Art Gallery in Mount Gambier, and a First Nations painter and weaver working with Kangaroo Island residents to create collaborative artworks in the spirit of recovery.
A project at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Hobart will bring together western soil science, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural knowledge and local artists. Another will see participants from across North West Tasmania attending creative workshops to develop storytelling through visual arts.
Also supported is a solo exhibition by a transgender artist exploring the concept of obsession and preoccupation with the body; as well as the design and implementation of the first phase of the Myrtleford Mosaic Trail in northeast Victoria.
First Nations projects feature strongly in this round with important cultural outcomes linked to artistic and community healing. Many of these projects combine significant community engagement with a strengthening of the local cultural economy. About a quarter of the funding will go towards projects where First Nations people are the main beneficiary. A further 40% of funding will support projects reaching regional and remote communities through engagement programs.
This round is unique in that applications were submitted before the COVID-19 restrictions came into place. Applicants have been supported to re-shape their projects to fit within these restrictions. We thank applicants, assessors and the Office of the Arts for their support and flexibility throughout this process, and are proud of the innovation, entrepreneurship and rigour seen across of the regional arts sector.
Demand for the Regional Arts Fund remains strong, with a national success rate of around 30% of all eligible applications being funded. The projects funded further demonstrate that the arts are essential and imbedded in regional communities and fundamental in community capacity and recovery. Of further interest is the visual data narrative of the national regional arts landscape, displayed by electorate, project type, artform, beneficiary.
Regional Arts Australia has continued to advocate for increased funding through the RAF. In April this year the Australian Government announced a $10 million Recovery Boost that will be delivered through the Regional Arts Fund to support regional and remote communities affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19.
For more information about the Regional Arts Fund, including full list of funded projects, visit: www.regionalarts.com.au for details.
Image: Pierotta Bagiri and Vainetutai ‘Bubba’ Tou in Woven produced by Women of AustraNesia, 2019 – photo by Colyn Huber