Visitors admire an outdoor exhibition at. Hyde Park

Art and culture

The City’s definition of art and culture is broad.  We are doing our best to foster everything from the performing and visual arts to crafts, literature, film, digital arts, design and architecture. Then there’s projects based on history and heritage, food and wine, and much more.

We see opportunities to enjoy the arts everywhere – from traditional exhibitions and performances to festivals, competitions, public debate, public art, major celebrations and everyday occasions. Anything that is important to specific communities or indeed greater Sydney is important to us.

A fresh look at our cultural facilities

As we move towards 2030, we’re looking at how we can enhance Sydney’s reputation as a cultural and creative city. To this end, we’re creating Sydney’s first ever cultural policy and we’re asking your views about how we can do things even better.

We commissioned a review of all the venues and facilities within a 20 kilometre radius of central Sydney – and devised an exciting plan for the future.

The review benchmarked Sydney’s cultural facilities against those in six other international cities. It analysed which venues could be improved and what improvements were needed. It also looked at whether Sydney was missing any facilities.

Based on the findings of the report, we’re proposing some major projects, including a new arena venue, a main stage lyric theatre with 2,000 capacity (possibly to be located at Barangaroo), a major new rehearsal space and an Indigenous cultural centre.

We’re using our empty properties in Oxford Street and William Street to develop artists’ studios and spaces for residencies, more exhibition spaces and venues for experimental art. A big focus of the findings was creating digital media venues – both indoors and out.

Facilities earmarked for improvements include the CarriageWorks, Sydney Theatre and the Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House. Note these are technical improvements only – mostly relating to acoustics.

The Powerhouse Museum would ideally be improved so that it had a space for major design exhibitions and the Art Gallery of NSW would greatly benefit from the creation of an education centre.

The review was commissioned in 2010, by a Steering Committee consisting of representatives from Arts NSW, Communities NSW, Tourism NSW, Events NSW, the City of Sydney, the Greater Sydney Partnership and the Barangaroo Development Authority.

To find out more, download the report in full:

Planning Sydney’s Cultural Facilities (PDF | 1.9 MB)

You can also download the various appendices to the report below.

Appendix A1 & A2: Sydney’s existing cultural facilities
Contains detailed information on over 90 cultural venues in Sydney including size; space; technical specifications, facilities and transport.

Appendix A1  - Performing arts venues (PDF | 2.3 MB)

Appendix A2 – Visual arts venues  (PDF | 1.5 MB)

Appendix B: International benchmarking
Benchmarks Sydney against Melbourne and Brisbane as well as against four international cities – Manchester, Hong Kong, Copenhagen and Chicago. Benchmarking allows Sydney to be measured against other like cities, to identify gaps in cultural infrastructure and to establish a blueprint for guiding the delivery of future infrastructure.

Appendix B – Key data, performing arts (PDF | 2.5 MB)

Appendix C1 & C2: Stakeholder consultation
Contains details of organisations and individuals consulted as part of the review.

Appedix C1 – List of stakeholders (PDF | 16 KB)

Appendix C2  - Questions for stakeholders (PDF | 39 KB)