A new golden era for a creative Ballarat

A new Coordinator Creative City role will be advertised from this weekend, replacing and elevating the former Arts and Culture Coordinator position, as the City prepares to release to the public the draft Ballarat Creative City Strategy.

City of Ballarat CEO Justine Linley said changes in staffing, with the retirement of some key, well regarded and long-serving personnel, combined with early findings emanating from the draft Creative City Strategy and Master Plan, had triggered this renewed focus.

“The changes to staffing in our Arts and Culture team highlights the importance and high priority the City of Ballarat places on the growing success of our arts and the creative industry sectors,” Mrs Linley said.

“It provides a direct line of sight for local artists, designers, musicians and creative industry professionals to access exhibition opportunities, develop skills, network and build a sustainable arts practice. We have for many years had a central contact officer within the City of Ballarat and this role has been now been strengthened.”

At the same time, changes will also occur to the management of the Backspace Gallery.

It will soon come under the custodianship of the Art Gallery of Ballarat, providing increased opportunities for local artists and allowing the gallery to benefit from the knowledge and experience of Art Gallery of Ballarat staff, particularly recently-appointed Director Louise Tegart.

Ms Tegart said the move was strongly supported by the Art Gallery of Ballarat Board.

“This brings with it some exciting opportunities,” Ms Tegart said.

“It opens up many pathway opportunities for our local artists, including professional development opportunities, greater marketing and promotion. The Art Gallery of Ballarat is committed to supporting regional artists and promoting local creativity.

“It does not change the existing scheduling. The Backspace Gallery is fully programmed until the end of 2019 and none of this will change.”

Mrs Linley said Council’s commitment to the arts was more significant now than ever before.

“Council is directly investing $5.3 million into the restoration of Her Majesty’s Theatre – as well as seeking a further $15 million from government – is nearing the final stages of the refurbishment of the Civic Hall as a major multi-purpose venue for community, performance and exhibitions and is partnering for the first time in a targeted way with a range of other cultural and arts institutions throughout the city including Royal South Street and the Ballaarat Mechanics Institute.

“This is in addition to the significant event program including funding for BOAA and the Foto Biennale, the continued operation of the Art Gallery of Ballarat and theatre programming associated with Her Majesty’s, the implementation of the Ballarat Live Music Strategy and of course the new draft Ballarat Creative City Strategy, Creative City Master Plan and the Art Gallery of Ballarat Feasibility Study.”

“Funding has also been provided to significant arts-based tourism events and the Made of Ballarat campaign, focusing on local artisans and makers.”

The Coordinator Creative City position will be advertised from this Saturday on the City of Ballarat’s website.