Acrylic paints in variety of colours stored in their jars.

The City has long recognised the value of arts and culture to our community. A cultural and creative city is one of the ten strategic directions of Sustainable Sydney 2030, cementing our community’s love of culture and its relevance to our daily lives.

The City’s contribution to our community’s cultural life exceeded $23 million last financial year, including our grants and sponsorships programs, our network of nine libraries, major and community events, our public art program, Pine St Creative Arts Centre and community centre programs.  In addition, we support street activities from festivals to pop up events throughout the local area, provide logistical advice and communication with other levels of government, and offer marketing support through the What’s On website and e-newsletter. The City is also a significant owner and provider of cultural infrastructure including the Capitol Theatre and City Recital Hall, in addition to the Sydney Town Hall.

We are proud of our ongoing commitment to culture and creativity through this diverse range of activities, including those highlighted below.

Oxford Street cultural and creative spaces: making space for creativity

As part of our efforts to revitalise the Oxford Street precinct, the City is undertaking a number of short, medium and long term initiatives to ensure that this much loved and renowned strip continues to thrive.

In addition to a range of economic development initiatives, the City is activating underutilised space with creative activity, to help rebuild Oxford St as a dynamic cultural precinct.

The City invites artists, creative and community organisations to submit an Expression of Interest for taking over one of the spaces on Oxford St, a program which offers affordable rental across sixteen of City-owned properties, including retail and office spaces. Following competitive selection processes, these spaces are now inhabited by a diverse range of cultural and creative organisations including object design, webdesign, architecture, transmedia, film, visual arts, contemporary performance, contemporary music, social enterprise, literature, animation and more.

The transformation has been swift, with bespoke retailing and a new creative workforce already having a significant presence on the strip.

…and this is only part of the story.

We are now working to develop the Business Mix Principles for the area and working with private property owners in Oxford Street and other precincts, including William Street, to help activate their underutilised space.

Creative work and artist live work space: a long term commitment

Informed by the response and impact of the Oxford Street spaces, we are now working to foster a new creative hub in City-owned properties in William Street, Sydney.

The City is seeking Expressions of Interest for more than 750 square metres of office space for collaborative artist studios and creative work space. Offering affordable rental rates, space will be offered under long term rental agreements.

A first for a capital city council, the City has dedicated six one-bedroom apartments on William Street as artist live/work spaces. These spaces will offer affordable rental for artists to both live and work in their own space.

The City is also investigating the conversion of three adjoining properties in Oxford Street into creative workspace and artist live/work space. The creative workspace consists of one basement, and two above ground level areas and the artist live/work space consists of 14 self contained New York style loft apartments.

Providing affordable creative work and artist live/work space in William and Oxford Streets complements the range of activities the City already undertakes to provide subsidised space for artists and creative enterprises to work, rehearse, meet, exhibit, collaborate and perform in Sydney’s broader local government area. It offers reduced hire and rental rates for rehearsal and performance space as well as funding and training opportunities.

Creative spaces [Sydney] website

Creative Spaces is a website designed to help artists and creative enterprises find a suitable space to develop, exhibit or perform their work. It is a free classifieds-style website offering a broad spectrum of spaces for hire, ranging from established spaces such as theatres, rehearsal rooms and galleries to studios and short-term space.

The website was developed through a partnership between City of Melbourne, Arts Victoria, RMIT and the University of Melbourne. While previously focused on Melbourne and wider Victoria, the City of Sydney is pleased to officially expand the site into Sydney – the first official territory outside of Victoria.

As part of the range of ways the City engages with and supports the cultural and creative sectors, this website is an important tool for property owners and operators, artists and the creative industries to advertise and/or find available space.

Listing a space is free and you can also access case studies and resources about developing and finding a space for creativity.

The City will advertise its own spaces on the website and we encourage you to sign up for the Creative Spaces website e-newsletter to stay informed.

Cultural policy

One of the key actions of the Sustainable Sydney 2030 Community Strategic plan is the development of a Cultural Policy for the City of Sydney.

The development of the City’s first cultural policy provides us with an opportunity to affirm the centrality of the arts and creativity to all our lives, and to articulate what the City’s priorities are for supporting the arts and cultural sector.

We’re currently seeking your views on how we can do things even better.

Events

As part of the broad discussion about culture and creativity, and the issues, projects and people that influence Sydney, the City presents a range of events and activities throughout the year. Information about upcoming and previous events can be found here and are promoted through our What’s On website and e-newsletter.

What creative life do you want for Sydney?

Australian actor Richard Roxburgh and Carol Coletta, CEO of Artplace America, joined Lord Mayor Clover Moore for an inspiring discussion about fostering culture and creativity in Sydney.

View and download the talk about creative life.