12 July 2021

New public art works to be commissioned

| Ian Bushnell
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Tara Cheyne

Minister for the Arts Tara Cheyne: “Artists have not only lost income and opportunities, they also continue to experience ongoing pressures.” Photo: File.

Three new public art works are to be commissioned as part of a COVID-19 recovery program for the arts.

The $700,000 Creative Recovery and Resilience Program will support the ACT arts industry over the next 12 months to recover from the economic effects of COVID-19.

Minister for the Arts Tara Cheyne said the program would create more than 80 job opportunities for artists and arts professionals and invest in the growth of local sector capability through a partnership with organisations delivering projects on behalf of artsACT.

The three new works will be commissioned from local artists to explore the identity and diversity of the city.

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Artists will identify a community group or organisation they wish to work with to create a new work, and the resulting work will be owned by the community organisation.

They will form part of Canberra’s Art Biennial, incorporating the contour 556 installations around the central lake landscape, which will return for its fourth edition in October 2022.

The recovery program will also include eight residencies with the University of Canberra and Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres, allowing artists to spend focused time developing their practice, offering valuable space and time to develop new ideas and directions across four diverse settings, including digital technology and community cultural development.

artsACT will also deliver the ACT Government Creative-in-Residence Project, an opportunity for two local artists to come into the ACT Government and provide new perspectives and explore how their creative skills can foster innovation and new approaches within government. They will be announced in the coming weeks.

An arts communication project will connect up to 10 artists with marketing and communications professionals at strategic design consultancy Paper Giant to share knowledge and skills.

The program will also run a Creative Recovery and Resilience Forum with the University of Canberra that will connect across disciplines, career stages and contexts to contribute to the ongoing growth of a well networked, more resilient sector.

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The Art in Place with You Are Here grants program will support small live events in venues and businesses across the ACT.

Ms Cheyne said the recovery program would focus on employment and economic stimulus for Canberra’s creative sector.

“The arts are an essential part of our lives and contribute immensely to the economic, cultural and societal value of our community,” Ms Cheyne said.

“COVID has had a significant impact on our arts industry. Artists have not only lost income and opportunities, they also continue to experience ongoing pressures due to travel restrictions and capacity limits in venues.”

The Creative Recovery and Resilience Forum, City Commissions, and Art in Place are joint initiatives of the ACT Government and Regional Arts Australia.

These projects are supported by the Australian Government’s $10 million Regional Arts Fund Recovery Boost announced in April 2020 as part of the COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund.

The Commonwealth has contributed more than $98,000 towards the ACT’s recovery program.

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Hopefully they won’t buy them from the same catalogue that Mr Stanhope used to use for “inspiration” (see the scissors over Woden way.)

Perhaps local Canberra artists could be given an opportunity?

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