The ACT Government is preparing to honour the life and work of Domenic Mico, a stalwart of the capital’s arts and multicultural community, who died on Tuesday, 12 September.
He was 76.
As recently as last month, Mr Mico was presented with the inaugural ACT Multicultural Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his 50-plus years contributing to the fabric of Canberra society through his passion for the arts and the city’s multicultural heritage.
Born in Calabria, Italy, in 1946, he migrated to Australia with his parents in the mid-1950s. As a young man, he trained at the then Canberra School of Art and later taught there.
His name was synonymous with almost every community arts event in Canberra over the past 50 years, from the Canberra Festival to perhaps his greatest achievement, the National Multicultural Festival. He also wrote prolifically, including works about the migrant experience of coming to Australia.
ACT Minister for the Arts and Multicultural Affairs Tara Cheyne said on Wednesday (13 September) that the ACT Government extended its deepest sympathies to Mr Mico’s wife Vicki, their four children and his extended family.
“For 50 years, and across many roles including artistic director, CEO, producer, critic and commentator, Mr Mico has enriched Canberra through his deep connection with the multicultural and arts communities, contributing immensely towards the vibrancy and diversity of the city he called home,” Ms Cheyne said.
“The National Multicultural Festival, the Canberra Day celebrations that became the Canberra Festival, Smith’s Alternative Bookshop and Tuggeranong Arts Centre are just a few of the cultural institutions that make up Mr Mico’s indelible legacy.”
She said among the many honours bestowed on him during his lifetime were the Centenary Medal in 2001, an Italian knighthood in 2005, and a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2018.
Last month, Ms Cheyne presented Mr Mico with the inaugural ACT Multicultural Lifetime Achievement Award – an honour recognising Mr Mico’s dedication to cultural and artistic enrichment over the last 50 years.
“We will continue to engage with Mr Mico’s family to ensure that his enormous contribution to the fabric of our city is appropriately honoured,” Ms Cheyne said.
Mr Mico died in hospital on Tuesday, 12 September, surrounded by his family.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be publicly announced.