Creativity to transform six small towns in Victoria

Birregurra EnLIGHTen MeCreativity is set to make a big impact on some of Victoria’s smallest towns with each receiving $350,000 to undertake an ambitious two-year project to transform their communities.

Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley today congratulated the towns of Birregurra, Lake Tyers Beach, Narrawong, Rainbow, Girgarre and a collective of Western Port waterline townships, whose projects were selected from 73 proposals as part of the Victorian Government’s Small Town Transformations program.

“Creative projects have the power to transform people and places,” said Minister Foley. “The Small Town Transformations projects show how creativity can enhance liveability, drive tourism and strengthen communities by bringing people together. These projects will create a lasting legacy for each town that will have an impact for years to come.”

The community-led projects will commence in August 2016 and will be completed by October 2018. They are:

  • Birregurra – to transform its idle Mechanics Institute Hall and other local spaces into thriving arts and cultural venues.
  • Girgarre – for a sound and light project that will connect community members with leading international artists. Together they will create multiple works that tell the story of the town and its residents while also establishing a new outdoor performance space and revitalising the local town hall.
  • Western Port Waterline Townships – Pioneer Bay, Grantville, Tenby Point, Corinella and Coronet Bay will join forces for a project that will connect the towns and create a spectacular outdoor installation and arts event celebrating the local natural and built environment.
  • Lake Tyers Beach – to create a floating arts space that will occupy Lake Tyers. Working with the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust, this project will present a year-long artistic program and provide a unique environment for artists to work in residence.
  • Narrawong – to create two permanent public art installations at Mt Clay and the Narrawong Community Reserve that reflect on the Aboriginal heritage and culture of the area.
  • Rainbow – to revitalise an historic school building and grounds into ‘The Oasis’, a creative community destination with a strong international connection.

The 2016 Small Town Transformations program is part of the Victorian Government’s $20 million Regional Arts Package delivered in the 2015/16 State Budget. This is in addition to the Andrews Labor Government’s record investment in the Victorian Budget 2016/17, which provided $152 million to deliver a strong program of support to the creative and cultural sector whilst delivering strong economic benefits. The program is managed by Regional Arts Victoria.

“Six towns are about to embark on an ambitious adventure that puts artistic practice at the centre of their community life” said Esther Anatolitis, Director Regional Arts Victoria. “With thanks to the Victorian Government, the funds that support Small Town Transformations projects are substantial. And yet transformation itself is priceless.”

“It begins with a set of conversations that bring people together – often for the very first time. It’s sustained by passion, dedication and trust. And it’s committed to a lifetime and more of the kind of cultural change that constantly renews a community’s inspirations. Cultural change is generative, creative collaboration is empowering, and transformation is priceless.”

For more information about the 2016-2018 Small Town Transformations projects, visit: www.smalltowns.rav.net.au for details.

Image: EnLIGHTen Me: I have a Hall in my Heart – photo by Tim Lucas and Fiona Brandscheid. Courtesy of Birregurra Community Arts Group

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