Councillor: Why our towns need to support the arts
COUNCILLOR Danita Potter believes art is so much more than something nice to look at.
For communities like the South Burnett, it is an important part of tourism and developing towns' economies.
That is why the South Burnett Regional Council agreed to formally recognise arts development as part of economic development at its general meeting on Wednesday, May 16.
Cr Potter said the council had been unofficially operating in this way for some time, but formal recognition helped place a stronger focus on the arts.
"It's not just looking at arts just as art,” Cr Potter said.
"We're looking at arts as a broader base that's going to have more of an impact on the community.
"Arts development and arts recognition, I think this will bring it to forefront of the community.”
Arts development refers to the work the council does with art galleries and similar groups to build a strong arts culture and presence in our towns.
Another facet of the council's arts focus is the Regional Arts Development Fund, which is a part of the council's Community Grants Program.
Cr Potter said the council had increased its bid to Arts Queensland to up the amount available through this program.
"We have requested a total budget of $25,000 for local artists and groups to access, assisting them in hosting and attending workshops to improve their arts skills,” she said.
Arts Queensland reduced the council's allocation in 2017/18 due to a surplus of funds carried over for a number of years.
"We needed to demonstrate that there was a definite need in our community,” Cr Potter said.
"Whilst the applications received this year have been small in number and the council has not managed to fully spend the allocation for 2017/18, with the changes to the process council believe this will encourage more applications next round.”
Cr Potter said groups such as South Burnett Musical and Comedy Society and Blackbutt Art Gallery had benefited from RADF funding in the past, and encouraged other artists and groups to apply.