News

Arts precinct on the drawing board

by
July 16, 2017

Interim investigations into establishing an art and culture precinct in Deniliquin have found it would have a ‘‘profound effect’’ on the liveability of the region.

A feasibility study’s finding is enough to prompt local arts and cultural group stakeholders, alongside facilitator and Regional Development Australia executive officer Gary Saliba, to apply for funding to hopefully kick start construction.

They will apply under the state government’s Regional Cultural Fund while investigations regarding location and design continue.

Mr Saliba, community members and representatives from Edward River Art Society, Yarkuwa Indigenous Knowledge Centre and South West Arts gathered on Tuesday to determine the next steps in the process of the precinct’s creation.

Committee chair Jan Harris said such a facility would be a major opportunity for art, culture and creative industries to work with business, the community and government to enhance the region’s economic and social wellbeing.

‘‘It provides a precinct where people from health, education, agriculture, professional services and business can join with creative people from the arts to facilitate innovation in each of these areas,’’ Ms Harris said.

‘‘For example, business people and farmers can meet with creative people and gain new ideas on how to operate — it will have an impact across all industries.

‘‘The precinct will help the community and government view art and culture as a critical tool for creativity and innovation for economic growth and jobs.

‘‘We are working on assisting the community to develop a shared narrative on our history, the present time and our future — who we have been, who we are now, and who we want to become as a society.

‘‘The precinct is important for the wellbeing and economic development of the region, and it will allow Deniliquin to become a focal point and centrepiece for arts, culture and creativity.’’

Ms Harris, who helped spearhead the development idea, said the precinct would provide new opportunities for all members of the community.

‘‘In Deniliquin, arts, culture and creative activities are not highly visible,’’ she said.

‘‘The centre would allow for performances, exhibitions and events which Deniliquin has previously missed out on because there was no appropriate facility.

‘‘It would also create an opportunity for our youth to experience art and cultural activities which have not been made available to them previously.’’

The push to create the precinct began more than two years ago, with the first formal meeting on the proposal held in December last year.

Edward River Art Society had at that stage applied for funding through Edward River Council’s Stronger Communities funding program to create an art gallery.

Its application was rejected with council suggesting a universal arts precinct be investigated instead.

The next meeting for the proposed facility will be held on Thursday, August 3 at the RDA’s Deniliquin office — at 217 Cressy St, opposite the Pastoral Times — from 10am.

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