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 government area, provide logistic 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.
In 2011, the City invited artists, creative and community organisations to submit an Expression of Interest for taking over one of the spaces on Oxford St, a program which offered affordable rental across sixteen of City-owned properties, including retail and office spaces. Following an overwhelming response and a competitive selection process, 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 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 will soon call for Expressions of Interest for over 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 also 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. We are now considering the best way to manage the live work spaces and undertaking minor cosmetic works, with properties expected to be available late 2012.
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. It is anticipated that a Development Application for the conversion will be lodged late 2012.
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 and RMIT and 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.
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.
It is anticipated that the policy and cultural sector consultation will commence in the middle of 2012.
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.
Culture Count: Measuring cultural value was an event delivered by the City of Sydney in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts and ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, Queensland University of Technology. The event featured a presentation from Hasan Bakhshi, director for creative industries in NESTA’s policy research unit as well as insight from local policy and planning experts – read more about the speakers. The audience heard about the latest developments in measurement frameworks and public policy, and shared their ideas about how we should value culture.
Rachel Healy: Culture Count: measuring cultural value
Additional videos from the event:
Kathy Keele -- Culture Count: Measuring cultural value Dr Nick Herd -- Culture Count: Measuring cultural value Hasan Bakhshi -- Culture Count: Measuring cultural value Panel Discussion -- Culture Count: Measuring cultural value
If you would like to speak with a City staff member about Creative City projects, please contact:
Cultural Projects Coordinator
02 9265 9169