2021/22 Arts and Culture Grants Program and vision for the City of Victor Harbor

ALL FOR THE ARTS: City of Victor Harbor CEO Victoria MacKirdy outside the Town Hall next to the famous mural
ALL FOR THE ARTS: City of Victor Harbor CEO Victoria MacKirdy outside the Town Hall next to the famous mural

The Arts and Culture Centre has undergone community engagement with 255 participants submitting feedback.

Just under 70 per cent supported the Arts and Culture Centre concept plans as presented. However, the consultation also highlighted that further investigation and refinement needs to occur in relation to design features - entry facade, back of house, connecting passageway and building accessibility.

The City of Victor Harbor is also looking at ways to reduce the overall cost to below $20 million through design and construction options.

A final report and completed concept design will be tabled for consideration during the September 27 council meeting. This report will recommend these finalised plans for planning approval lodgement.

City of Victor Harbor CEO Victoria MacKirdy said council continued to work towards the delivery of an Arts and Culture Centre in Victor Harbor's town centre.

"Council has undertaken extensive community engagement on a new concept design, cost estimate and other investigations for the proposed Arts and Culture Centre. At the July council meeting council considered the feedback from the community and decided on the next steps of this major capital project," Ms MacKirdy said.

An allocation of $47,000 was made in the 2021/22 capital budget to finalise the concept design for the Arts and Culture Centre.

This will be undertaken by ARM Architecture, who was engaged by council in December 2020 to complete this work. ARM Architecture are leading a multi-disciplinary sub consultant team, including specialists in the areas of theatre design and performing arts and cultural centres management. This team has worked together on previous projects including Hamer Hall and Sydney Opera House upgrade projects.

The concept design is expected to be finalised the coming two months. The next phase is the preparation of detailed design and technical specifications based on the concept design. This work will be undertaken in future years as council works on prioritising a number of significant infrastructure projects.

"Council's commitment to developing arts and culture within the Victor Harbor area expands beyond the planning for an Arts and Culture Centre. In fact the City of Victor Harbor's arts and cultural program has flourished in recent years and will continue to grow through council's commitment to fund an Arts and Culture Facilitator, develop a focussed Arts, Culture and Heritage Strategy, and ensure public art opportunities are considered in infrastructure upgrades," Ms MacKirdy said.

"The council will also continue to nurture and support the local arts sector through community grants and play a part in highlighting local makers and artists through the Coral Street Art Space and Artisan Markets.

"We have seen a lot of growth in Victor Harbor's arts and culture sector in recent years, and there is more to come which is really exciting for our city."

The City of Victor Harbor took ownership of the iconic Victa Cinema in October 2020. After considering several options, council engaged the services of Country Arts SA to co-ordinate and oversee the operation of the Victa Cinema.

"The initial agreement with Country Arts SA is due to expire on September 30, 2021. In May the council resolved to negotiate an extension to this agreement for a further two years as an interim measure while it works to progress its longer-term plan for an Arts and Culture Centre, which includes the Victa Cinema," she said.

"The services of Country Arts SA to manage the cinema on behalf of council has provided a number of benefits including drawing on the expertise and advice of Country Arts SA, enabling council to develop a greater understanding on how the business operates and its relationship with local government.

"There is no doubt that there have been challenges as a result of COVID-19 and the need to adapt to changing restrictions."

Ms MacKirdy said it was important to highlight that while the council was looking at opportunities to diversify and enhance the space as a part of the broader Arts and Culture Centre project, it would continue to operate as a cinema.

"Currently there are two cinemas within the facility. However, council's proposal within the Arts and Culture Centre is for the upstairs cinema to be converted into four smaller cinemas to improve operability and variety in alignment with contemporary trends. The current ground floor cinema will receive an upgrade so it can also be used as a traditional Proscenium Theatre for live performance as well as a cinema," Ms MacKirdy said.

City of Victor Harbor CEO Victoria MacKirdy in Coral Street, the heart of the arts and culture precinct.

City of Victor Harbor CEO Victoria MacKirdy in Coral Street, the heart of the arts and culture precinct.

Keeping with the arts theme, council have appointed an Arts and Culture Advisory Group to assess the 2021/22 Arts and Culture Grants Program applications and to make subsequent recommendations to council.

The Arts and Culture Grants Program was first offered in the 2016/17 financial year. In 2019/20 the grant fund pool was doubled to $10,000 allowing the council to support a broader range of arts and cultural activities in the community.

In 2019/20 the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in the historically low number of applications due to the level of restrictions and public safety risks associated with arts based activities. Following the relaxing of restrictions in July 2020 the Council released a round of the Arts and Culture Grants Program to assist an industry that had suffered extensively.

The 2020/21 Arts and Culture Grants Program was offered over two rounds, with 10 applications received collectively seeking $38,306. The council resolved to support six applications investing $15,858 in local projects.

The City of Victor Harbor Arts and Culture Grants Program is an initiative of the council that aims to support and provide opportunities for arts and cultural organisations, groups, collectives and individuals to deliver innovative creative arts and cultural activities.

It also increases community participation in arts and cultural activities, strengthens the identity and profile of the arts in Victor Harbor, facilitates activities that contribute to public spaces and/or promote cultural vitality, creativity and connection within the city.

To be eligible for funding, applicants must be; Not-for-profit community groups or organisations that are based within Victor Harbor; or Not-for-profit community groups or organisations that are not based within Victor Harbor, but whose proposed project will primarily impact upon residents in Victor Harbor, individual artists who are residents of Victor Harbor. Individual artists that are not based within Victor Harbor but whose proposed project will primarily impact upon residents in Victor Harbor, groups/organisations/individuals with outstanding grant acquittals are not eligible for funding.

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