Beechworth Arts Council aims to:
- Develop and foster all types of artistic expression for the study and appreciation of the arts in all its forms.
- Assist in, co-ordinate and promote activities of all community art forms with similar aims and interests.
- Support local artists and craftspeople to further their interest in the arts
Creative Indigo – Arts and Culture Strategy
Beechworth Arts Council’s letter responding to the Indigo Council 2023 Draft Creative Indigo Strategy
Beechworth Arts Council would like to offer our support to the Creative Indigo Arts and Culture draft strategy 2023-2027 and congratulate those responsible for its research, consultation and drafting. We strongly urge Indigo Shire Council to fully adopt the initiatives outlined in this strategy as a positive step towards recognising the importance of the arts to the cultural lifeblood of our community.
The Beechworth Arts Council considers the neglect of this policy by Indigo Shire Council over several years disappointing in the extreme. We therefore urge Indigo Shire Council to reflect on the factors that led to this neglect and ensure there is a mechanism in place for the continuation of this Creative Strategy beyond the proposed five years.
Beechworth Arts Council believes the numerous shortcomings identified in the Creative Indigo Strategy are a symptom of disrespect for artists, their patrons and audiences, and a poor understanding for the commercial and cultural value of the arts to the health and wellbeing of the community. We therefore advise Indigo Shire Council to commission independent research specifically focusing on the economic benefits of local arts activities to the broader Indigo Shire community. This report should aim to quantify the economic benefits delivered to the Indigo Shire community by the arts and associated activity along with the broader health and wellbeing benefits. It is our firm belief that without such quantifiable data, the objectives proposed in the Creative Indigo Strategy 2023-2027, while well intentioned will continue to be challenged.
The arts council cites the wealth of research readily available on the broader benefits of a thriving community arts sector and reminds Indigo Shire Council that the wellbeing of its residents is an important role for local council. We would commend the Federal government’s Creative Australia – Revive policy and the economic and health arguments presented therein to support a well-resourced, broad based arts policy.
As Indigo’s longest operating, not-for-profit community art group, Beechworth Arts Council believes that while the paths of the commercial and community arts sectors often cross, they are fundamentally different in outlook and intention. We therefore urge Indigo Shire Council to recognise this diversity and directly engage with the local not-for-profit community arts sector for feedback and advice on future arts policy direction.
As well as the Indigenous cultures of this region, Beechworth Arts Council also values the historical significance of Indigo Shire. To this end we would like to see this significant cultural heritage reflected across all areas of the proposed Creative Indigo Strategy.
As a priority, Beechworth Arts Council would like to identify specific issues raised in the draft Creative Strategy for immediate action:
1/ Fit for purpose public spaces for hosting arts and cultural events and associated activities – this includes the leveraging of existing spaces along with commissioning new spaces – ensuring such spaces are well equipped and accessible to not-for-profit community arts groups and individual artists.
2/ Explore the means to fund arts and cultural projects through existing state and national grants streams and resource this activity through current Indigo Shire staffing.
3/ The development of a public arts policy, funded with the implementation of a core budget requirement that all Indigo Shire Council projects over $500,000 include a percentage spend on public art.
4/ Acknowledge and respect the Indigenous histories of this region and see these reflected in all arts and cultural activities.
5/ Acknowledge and respect for the significant cultural heritage of the region and see this reflected in all arts and cultural activities.
6/ Identify and respect the wealth of creative talent (young and old) across Indigo, and tap into this talent as a valuable resource to build and expand an interdependent, resilient creative arts ecosystem.
7/ Fully fund and resource all the initiatives identified in Creative Indigo Strategy beyond just staff time.
8/ Commit to employing a full time Arts and Cultural Officer ongoing to oversee the implementation of Creative Indigo Strategy.
Beechworth Arts Council Committee of Management – 22/02/2023
Creative Indigo – Arts and Culture Strategy, more information (click here)
Beechworth Arts Council Membership details (click here)
Beechworth Arts Council’s DEVELOPMENT AND ACHIEVEMENTS (here)