Online arts offerings created in the face of the COVID-19 crisis are here to stay despite organisations once again opening their doors, according to a group of Western Sydney arts organisations. Their online offerings will give Australians access to a range of exciting, world-class creative experiences previously not available.
Western Sydney Arts Alliance (WSAA) comprises over 30 councils, arts and culture organisations from across the region which have come together to offer a series of free and ticketed online creative events, collating them into an eye-catching calendar.
WSAA member Anne Loxley, Executive Director, Information and Cultural Exchange, said it’s clear from the calendar that local artists and creatives have a lot to say about resilience, identity, love, stigma and more.
“Every single one of these events reflects the excellence of the creative sector in Western Sydney. It’s a hotbed of not just talented artists, but excellent creative producers,” said Anne.
While there’s excitement among the WSAA for in-person connection as lockdown lifts, the online space makes arts and culture accessible to new audiences and expands creative possibilities for artists.
It’s for these reasons WSAA has curated the online events and compiled them into a calendar that includes links to live and on-demand performances, workshops and talks.
In one event that Anne said, “is emblematic of the best of Western Sydney” – a group of young changemakers will share their lived experiences of growing up in Mount Druitt to break down and challenge the stigma and negative narrative of the region and celebrate the community spirit that exists.
In another, Dream Sequence, designed for creatives to be unconstrained in lockdown, the viewer is invited into the homes of 11 local artists. There’s something for families too with the much-loved annual, Way Out West (WOW) festival, going digital.
“The WOW festival has real traction, people look forward to it every year, and it’s been adapted so families can engage from their loungeroom,” said Anne.
WSAA members are in local government areas that were among the hardest hit during lockdown. With curtains down and galleries closed, they found new ways to connect and support each other and the Western Sydney community.
The group hopes its calendar will encourage people across NSW and Australia to support Western Sydney artists and organisations following a challenging time.
“We are such a diverse set of communities that when you hook in, you’ll learn about a cultural group that isn’t your own or connect in a way that is enjoyable and inspiring,” added Anne.
The Western Sydney Arts Alliance calendar is available to download here!
Image: Art Direction by Stuart Garske