12 February 2019

Tuggeranong Arts Centre embraces the Art of Listening

| Tuggeranong Arts Centre
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TAC CEO Rauny Worm and former Director Evol McLeod at the opening of Another Day in Paradise. Photo: Martin Ollman.

For nearly 30 years the Tuggeranong Arts Centre has been creating, presenting and performing art with and for the community. As the only arts and cultural facility south of the Lake, their field of influence stretches from South Tuggeranong all the way to Woden and across to Weston Creek.

In late July, staff and management conducted their annual community consultations, inviting individuals and organisations to join them around the table and provide feedback on programming, and discuss new ideas and developments in the community.

“Just because we have been around so long, does not mean we shouldn’t listen carefully to the community,” says CEO Rauny Worm. “Without the valuable connection to community, this organisation would not be able to continuously improve.”

This year’s favourite, so far, has clearly been the Myuran Sukumaran exhibition Another Day in Paradise, and the extensive amount of community arts content and public programming developed around the exhibition.

“It is great to hear individuals and other organisations critique the larger projects we have embarked on,” says Worm, “because they are the ones that really challenge us and our capacity to deliver relevant high-quality programs the community enjoys and deserves.”

“The consultations assist us to maintain a balance between large-scale projects, entertainment that comes from interstate, and community arts projects which allow for direct creative involvement by local artists and the community,” Worm continues.

Young stars perform in Just Like Clockwork, a self-devised children’s musical. Photo: Martin Ollman.

The sessions confirmed that there is an audience for classical music, jazz, blues, performance, dance, First Nations arts & culture as well as visual arts & literature.

Requests for a larger community celebration were also a core finding and the Arts Centre will be a partner in ‘South Fest’ – the new Tuggeranong community celebration being planned for November 24, 2018.

Other arts and community sector organisations were keen to collaborate and the focus for TAC will be to continue to work with organisations and partners such as Craft ACT, Belconnen Community Service, YWCA Canberra, ACT Writers Centre, Campbelltown Arts Centre, ILBIJERRI Theatre, local schools and many more.

Working with arts organisations and artists from other states is essential for TAC and builds connections with key players across the arts. In 2020 TAC’s first international project hopes to intrigue and fascinate the community, while 2019 will build on the region’s rich dance community and the Centre’s growing First Nations arts & cultural program, bringing challenging work and outstanding First Nations artists to Tuggeranong.

Kamahi Djordon King performs as Constantina Bush. Photo: Martin Ollman.

While the Centre is excited about these future programming opportunities, the enthusiasm is somewhat tempered. Despite arts funding increases across the Territory, Tuggeranong has not seen any increases for over 7 years. Like many community organisations the Arts Centre struggles with higher costs particularly when it comes to maintenance and overheads. Programming expenditure must be carefully considered and planned.

“Without the support of the fabulous Fresh Funk dance program, we could not offer our affordable and often free events and activities. Our ability to experiment, be edgy and daring depends on our ability to be entrepreneurial,” Worm states.

Ultimately, the Centre hopes that through listening to the community it can continue to challenge, provide and inspire with more great artistic programming for the next 30 years and beyond.

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