geelong waterfront

The City of Greater Geelong has adopted the Arts and Cultural Strategy 2021-31 in an effort to revitalise the city’s arts and culture scene in the wake of COVID-19.

The strategy aims to stimulate arts and cultural activity, skills development and boost career pathways by investing in local artists, arts organisations, creative enterprises, libraries, galleries and performing arts centres.

New and enhanced programs will develop and build on the strength, diversity and vitality of the region’s creatives by investing in them. 

The Geelong region’s unique stories will be showcased through public programs, events and festivals, through online platforms and through improved access to the city’s heritage collections.

Implementation of the strategy will play a pivotal role in the creative industry’s COVID-19 recovery.

Initiatives planned for 2021-25 include:

  • Identifying new opportunities to partner with non-arts venues and events, such as shopping centres and sporting matches, to hold arts and cultural programs for a wider audience
  • Supporting diverse communities to hold festivals and events that reflect themulticultural region
  • Launching ‘Arts Geelong’ digitally to showcase and promote Wadawurrung culture, events, live music, pop-up creative activities, cultural tourism attractions and more
  • Collaborating with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners to conserve, digitise and interpret artworks and artefacts from the City’s collections, and cultivate a wider appreciation for and understanding of the region’s First Nation history, heritage and stories
  • Developing a business case for future public art works in support of Geelong’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design by embracing a design mindset, nurturing talent and fostering a design culture
  • Continuing to deliver competitive one-off project funding and annual operational funding for local artists and arts organisations

Extensive consultation was carried out with more than 1,700 people, including creatives, the broader community, the Geelong COVID Arts Recovery Advisory Panel, councillors and Arts Industry Council Victoria through a Your Say survey, workshops, focus groups and interviews.

The strategy builds on the City’s work in recent years, such as implementing the Council’s $665,000 COVID-19 recovery program, ongoing grants programs, an Arts Industry Commission initiative to support local artists and Wadawurrung and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and projects.

Greater Geelong Mayor, Stephanie Asher, said the pandemic has been an incredibly difficult time for the arts and culture industry.

“We’ve seen local creatives turn the challenges of COVID-19 into inspiring and innovative art and projects,” Mayor Asher said.

“Council will continue to collaborate with the industry to rebuild the local cultural landscape and make the community’s aspirations come alive.

“The planned initiatives mark a promising time for the creative industry through new music programs and arts opportunities, increasing the community’s access to collections and amplifying more voices.”

Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Creative Communities and Culture portfolio, Trent Sullivan, said the community has a lot to look forward to.

“The strategy will pave the way for a thriving and enduring arts and culture scene in Greater Geelong, that will speak to a diverse range of people and contribute to a strong economy,” Cr Sullivan said.

“Thanks to everyone who helped to shape the strategy and the exciting future we have ahead of us.”

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