Standing up for the arts

Jamie took time in Parliament to acknowledge the wonderful arts community in the electrate last month. Jamie is working hard to help promote local artists, arts events, and the cultural hub that the inner west continues to be. 


Mr JAMIE PARKER (Balmain) [6.41 p.m.]: This evening I will speak about the important role that arts play within my electorate of Balmain. Many members will be aware that the inner west is home to vibrant and varied art organisations, artists and creative industries. Our vibrant arts community is what makes our area so special. There are photographers, printmakers, designers, painters, milliners, jewellers, publishers, illustrators, architects, animators, videographers, musicians and so many other creative types. Balmain is renowned for its vibrant arts community. I am committed to making it even better, particularly by supporting local artists and art organisations. I have been working in my electorate on a wideranging strategy to further enliven our arts community.

Last month I hosted local forums for artists, organisations and anyone who loves the arts to have their say on how we can help foster our creative community, enliven our local arts scene and help facilitate arts programs and projects in our area. These forums formed part of the consultation process to help us develop an integrated arts strategy that will support local artists, and revitalise and invigorate the creative community. Some fantastic ideas came from the meetings and we want to help make those ideas happen. It has been very heartening to see so much interest in the arts. We have consulted with artists and organisations and a number of suggestions have been raised, including the need for more affordable studios and venues for artists, support for artist-run initiatives and help with applications for grants funding. As part of our consultations we are forming a network of artists, artisans, local arts organisations and art lovers to create innovative new projects in our community.

We identified two distinct projects that we will be moving forward within the coming months. First, I refer to sculptures by the bay, which is an exciting proposal to create an open-air exhibition to showcase local work. The first step will be to establish a committee of dedicated local artists and interested residents to drive the project. I will be meeting with interested people next week and hope to move forward with this idea as soon as possible and work in a collaborative manner with the council of the City of Sydney. Second, I refer to a weekend event at Callan Park to bring people to the area and showcase as many artists and organisations as possible. This can be used to test the potential of securing long-term space for ongoing exhibitions and events and to help secure the Callan Park master plan, which is so important for this site. I have arranged a time to inspect the potential building for this event and will be forming a local committee to drive the project. It is very important for me that our community comes together to own and drive these projects. I am delighted that there has been strong interest in both projects.

Another aspect of the broader art strategy is to facilitate networking of local artists. In the next few weeks I will be hosting the first network event at a local art gallery. It is an important part of our strategy to bring artists, practitioners, exhibiters and others together to share their ideas and build enthusiasm. It came out of the arts forum and we see it as a great way to encourage collaboration within the arts community and provide opportunities for creativity to flourish. I acknowledge the many great arts organisations in my electorate such as the Annandale Hotel, the Bald Faced Stag and other pubs and clubs in the area that provide music and entertainment.

Other organisations include: Sydney College of the Arts, Artspark Studio, Art Est. Gallery and Art School, Breathing Colours, Cabinet of Wonder, dLux Media Arts, Legs on the Wall, NSW Writers Centre, one+2 Artist Studios and Gallery, Punch Gallery, Archway 1 Theatre Company, Articulate Project Space, Artereal Gallery, Australian International Conservatorium of Music, Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative, OedSpace gallery, Embelish Atelier, Flourish Arts, Gallery Red, Ginkgo Gallery and Studio, Glass Artists' Gallery, Higher Ground Studio, Inner City Clayworkers Gallery, Kate Owen Gallery and Studio, Kinema Film Society, Leichhardt Espresso Chorus, Metropolitan Orchestra and Poetry in Action.

There are many businesses and organisations that I have not mentioned, but that list is an indication of the extensive arts community in Balmain. It is important that we engage and enjoy the arts. I encourage all members of this House to continue to support the arts. I look forward to working with the Minister for the Arts to encourage grant support for our local community. It is important when we visit galleries and attend live music venues that we open our pocket and purchase some of the art. In this way, we support the artists and exhibiters of art and ensure they can follow their dreams, express their love for the arts and share their love of art with the community.

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