ALGA draws an arts hub for councils

By Paul Hemsley

The merits of civic art might draw contrasting viewpoints, but the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is urging councils to indulge in some blatant exhibitionism by throwing their weight behind a new forum designed to show-off creative activities in their own back yards.

The peak body has linked-up with not-for-profit organisation Cultural Development Network (CDN) and the Global Cities Research Institute at Victoria’s RMIT University to create the National Local Government Cultural Forum (NLGCF) that aims to kick start arts projects in local government areas.

The new forum is intended to positively influence local government in its perceptions, policy and programs in community arts. It will also seek to forge collaborations and partnerships between communities and local artists.

It will be used to source ideas demonstrated from 500 councils nationwide that CDN claims will be form a testing ground for “strengthening communities” and “improving health and wellbeing through the arts”.

The CDN says the Forum will provide a clearing house for arts activities that are “shaping communities, their cultures and creativity.”

The seven local government associations and eight capital cities will send representatives to meet with CDN, ALGA, Australia Council for the Arts and Global Cities Research Institute to set objectives in the medium to long-term for council cultural planning and the arts.

The NLGCF originated from the Australia Council for the Arts, Community Partnership’s National Sector Development Initiative, which has advocated a ‘community arts and cultural development’ (CACD) practice to build partnerships between communities and artists.

The forum from ALGA and CDN comes as the NSW government axed $1.7 billion in funding for tertiary education in October 2012, which has included significant cuts in the field of fine arts.

This resulted in staff cuts in TAFE institutes across the state with teachers competing for remaining roles, as well as cuts in other fields such as automotive, business, accounting, retail and cookery.

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