Health in mind and culture for artists and performers

Mostly Mad Music Ambassador Filip Pogady - photo by Troy BryanMusical performances designed to reduce stigma around mental health and an Indigenous film festival are among the many community programs that will benefit from the City of Sydney’s latest round of cultural and creative grants. Thirty-two cultural and creative projects will receive almost $645,000 for activities and events that support cultural events and boost the local economy.

Grant recipient Mental Health Carers NSW will receive a $15,000 grant for a series of classical music performances in Kings Cross and inner Sydney. The concerts, created and produced by Mostly Mad Music, are targeted at young people and aim to break down barriers and reduce stigma around mental health.

“Our In Harmony program was born of a recognition that vibrant and inclusive communities are of paramount importance for good mental health and wellbeing,” said Mostly Mad Music CEO, Esther Pavel-Wood. “We will be working with Mad Music Ambassador Filip Pogady, concert violinist, who is a long-time believer that good music should be available to everyone, because of its unique ability to connect people and break down barriers.”

Jonathan Harms, CEO of Mental Health Carers NSW, added: “We are very proud to be supporting this wonderful initiative. It will help to positively build mental health by enhancing social connections between people in the big city and the life affirming experience that great art and great music in particular can bring to our lives and communities.”

Other projects will commemorate next year’s 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – telling the story of the struggles of the first Mardi Gras participants and volunteers during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and early ‘90s.

“Our grants and sponsorship program is all about supporting Sydney’s cultural and creative life and helping local artists and creatives to get projects that might not otherwise happen off the ground,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore. “Through performances, films and exhibitions, this year’s selection of projects provides residents and visitors with opportunities to see our past in new ways and celebrate our communities of both yesterday and today.”

Other projects made possible by round two of the City’s annual cultural and creative grants and festivals sponsorship programs for 2017–18 include:

  • an audio-visual project in the cells of the former Darlinghurst Police Station featuring footage and audio of Sydney’s first Mardi Gras and related protests;
  • a collection of life-sized street portraits from the 1930s–60s, exhibited side by side with images recreated by contemporary photographers reflecting the people of today’s Sydney;
  • a street dance festival with local and international hip hop artists;
  • a celebration of Australian playwriting featuring mid-career and emerging playwrights;
  • night-time performances, talks and workshops by Australian–Asian artists during Chinese New Year and Sydney Biennale; and
  • a film festival with Indigenous film and filmmakers at George Street’s Event Cinemas, plus workshops and a community screening in Redfern.

All applications are assessed against strict criteria to ensure the projects are able to meet the City’s objectives supporting local events and economies. The next round of the City’s cultural grants program will open in February 2018. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Mostly Mad Music Ambassador Filip Pogady – photo by Troy Bryan