Cultural infrastructure and facilities provide Canberrans the ability to access the arts and engage with art and cultural programs and practice.
The ACT Government is committed to providing quality cultural facilities and infrastructure which facilitate the development of a dynamic and diverse arts ecology, act as a home to great art and great artists, and provide the community access to the arts as participants and audiences. We are increasingly aware of the role cultural infrastructure and facilities can play in enhancing the vibrancy and the liveability of the built environment. This is an important consideration as the ACT Government undertakes a number of transformative urban renewal projects.
What is our objective
Our objective is that we continue to provide facilities which accommodate the needs of the Canberra arts ecology and the community, and clarity on the strategic role and management of our cultural facilities and physical assets. This objective must be achieved in context of our existing investments in arts and cultural infrastructure, government priorities, and resources available.
What we know
artsACT is currently responsible for 16 dedicated arts facilities across the city. The Cultural Facilities Corporation (CFC) manages the Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra Museum + Gallery, and a number of ACT Historic Places. The ACT arts ecology is further supported by several National Cultural Institutions, facilities operated by the education, not for profit and private sectors, as well as other facilities located across the Canberra Region.
Financial information 2015-16
- allocation for repairs and maintenance of artsACT facilities (inc. Capital Works) - $1,296,000
- ACT Government appropriation to CFC (Capital Works) - $3,209,000
- Investment in Public Art (Repairs and Maintenance) - $154,000
ACT Government Priorities
Strategic direction for Canberra’s arts facilities was documented in the 2003 Arts Facilities Strategy (PDF 1.2MB) This Strategy has shaped the direction of investment in arts infrastructure for more than 10 years. Other key documents include the ACT Government Infrastructure Plan 2011-2021 and the 2015 ACT Arts Policy.
The current ACT Government cultural facilities priority is the development of the Kingston Arts Precinct that will be a major visual arts hub. Future priorities are subject to budget considerations.
Arts Hubs and Cultural Precincts
Six arts hubs have been identified by the ACT Government to build the vibrancy, support best practice and to increase access and participation in the arts:
- The Street Theatre (Performing Arts Hub)
- Ainslie Art Centre (Music Hub)
- Gorman House Arts Centre (Multi Arts Hub)
- Kingston Arts Precinct (Visual Arts Hub)
- Belconnen and Tuggeranong Arts Centres (Regional Arts Hubs)
The central location of The Canberra Theatre Centre and the Canberra Museum and Gallery at Civic Square provides a focal point for cultural activities in the city.
As part of many urban renewal projects such as Braddon, Kingston, West Belconnen, City to the Lake and the activation of Civic there have been discussions about the role of these areas as, ‘cultural precincts’, with ‘arts and culture being a central part of their redevelopment, and the basis to attract people to these urban spaces.
Art in Public Places
Connected to the discussion on urban renewal is how art is facilitated in the built environment, and what role the arts can play in enhancing the livability of our city. Areas currently being considered are:
- Public Art
- Street Art
- Performances [dedicated places, busking, live music]
- The interface between the arts and the surrounding built environment.
What you have told us
During the preparation of the 2015 ACT Arts Policy the following issues where raised about cultural infrastructure and facilities:
- A long term ACT Government facilities strategy to guide future investment is needed
- More spaces, in particular for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, to work together are needed
- The physical and cultural accessibility of arts facilities and venues needs to be improved.
- The provision and availability of studio spaces.
- Setting of targets and measuring the role of arts facilities.
- Funding should be focused on maintaining and upgrading existing arts facilities, instead of building new ones.
In addition, ACT Legislative Assembly has recommended the ACT Government consider the geographical spread of arts facilities, in particular the provision of facilities in Woden, Weston Creek and Gungahlin.
Ensuring that we continue to provide facilities that accommodate the needs of the sector and the community
- Why are arts facilities important to the community and to the sector? How do they contribute to a dynamic and diverse arts ecology that is valued locally, nationally and globally?
- How can we strengthen the building management of our current arts facilities and ensure their sustainability into the future?
- What are the arts sector and community needs now and in the future? To what extent do our arts facilities meet current and future needs?
- How do we ensure the physical and cultural accessibility of arts facilities and venues? What improvements could be made to improve access from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with disabilities and Canberra’s cultural and linguistic diversity?
- Where should the ACT Government be focusing its resources in regards to arts facilities? What should we be prioritising?
- Where should arts facilities be located? Is a geographical spread of art facilities important?
Consolidating the work of arts hubs and clarify the strategic role of ACT Government cultural facilities
- Why are arts hubs important to the community and the arts sector? How do they contribute to a dynamic and diverse arts ecology that is valued locally, nationally and globally?
- Are the roles for arts hubs clear within the community and the arts sector? Are arts hubs meeting the current and future needs of the sector?
- What can be done to strengthen role of arts hubs?
- Is there need for arts hubs for other arts forms? Where should they be located?
- Planning for the maintenance of cultural infrastructure and facilities
- How can the management of the maintenance of cultural infrastructure and facilities be improved?
Continuing to promote and manage the ACT Government’s public art collection
- Why is the ACT Government’s public art collection important?
- Where are the opportunities to expand the public art collection? How should this be managed?
- How can we promote the public art collection better? And its value to the city?
Integrating the arts into Public Spaces and Urban Renewal
- Who is responsible for facilitating the arts in public spaces? How can they enhance the role of the arts?
- What way can the arts enhance public spaces? How can the arts be incorporated into proposed and future urban renewal projects?
- What is the value of integrating the arts into Public Spaces and Urban Renewal? How can we promote this value to the wider community?
- Where are the opportunities to integrate the arts into public spaces and urban renewal? How can these opportunities be taken advantage of?
An ongoing conversation
We met with artsACT facilities managers in late February 2016 to discuss building management issues and the outcomes from the CBRarts Forum.
We welcome community and arts sector viewa as we develop our strategy for cultural infrastructure. We will also use the artsACT eNews and Twitter account (@artsACT1) to share updates, and provide information on this website.